segunda-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2016
The parable of the lost drachma...
"Or, what is the woman who, having ten drachmas and losing one of them, does not light a lamp, sweeps the house and looks carefully until she finds it?" And when he finds it, he gathers his friends and neighbors and says, "I say that in the same way there is joy in the presence of the angels of God for a sinner who repents." Luke 15: 8
Luke 15 is a succession of parables about the grace of God rescuing man from sin. There are three parables: 1- The lost sheep rescued by the shepherd, 2- the lost drachma rescued by the woman and 3-the prodigal son rescued from the world by the love of the father. Jesus is the good shepherd of parable 1, The Holy Spirit of God is the illuminated lamp of parable 2 and God is the loving Father of parable 3, this is a way of interpreting and understanding the work of the Trinity in the salvation of man.
In this article we will talk specifically about Parabola 2 (lost drachma), since other studies have already been published on the other parables. From the beginning, let us select some aspects that deserve our attention:
1-What was a drachma, what value did it have for that society?
2-Why did the woman in the parable become bothered with the drachma that was lost if she had another nine?
3- The drachma has been lost inside the house and not outside, in another environment
4-It was night when the woman realized that she had lost the drachma, but: Why light a lamp to look for it?
5. Why did not she wait for the dawn day to look?
6- The lamp in the Biblical context
7- The drachma was lost in secret, but was found with party and publication in the neighborhood.
Drachma was a silver coin used for trade and also for spruce necklaces for brides. The necklace with 10 drachmas had the meaning of a wedding ring, the groom presented his bride with the necklace sealing a wedding engagement. Thus, the bride should take good care of the necklace in demonstration of trust and fidelity. Losing drachmas from the necklace involved bad judgments on the part of the groom and even breaking the relationship. Knowledge of custom gives us a clearer idea of why it was a woman and not a man who diligently seeks the drachma. The drachma referred to invaluable values, superior to the material value. In this case, the nine drachmas collected had no value at all apart from the lost drachma. The lost drachma, on the other hand, was very valuable, for to find her was to retrieve the betrothal, to secure her betrothal to the bridegroom.
The drachma was lost at night, in the house. This house may be called the Church, the bride of Christ:
Let us rejoice and rejoice, and give him glory; For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife is ready. - Revelation 19: 7
The house is also the Kingdom of God which is based on the atoning work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit:
I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, which descended from God out of heaven, dressed as a bride adorned for her husband. - Revelation 21: 2
It is this Spirit that leads the sinner to repentance. The absence of the Holy Spirit is like a house in darkness, a lamp without light. The necklace of 10 drachmas on the bride's neck was like a prop, a necessary garment for the maintenance of communion with the bridegroom.
Jesus was the one who introduced the meaning of the candle in the Bible; on several occasions he cites this instrument referring to a life guided, guided and belonging to the Kingdom of God, let us see:
"Let your loins be girded, and keep your lamps burning" - Luke 12:35
"You are the light of the world, you can not hide a city that is built on a hill, Neither does the lamp go up and put itself under the bushel, but on the lampstand, and give light to all who are in the house. Before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. "Matthew 5: 14-16
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom." Matthew 25: 1.
What was lost:
Why should the drachma be lost, why? And why was she sought in the house and not outside?
The parable is very short and needs to be examined in an expository way in relation to other portions of the scripture. The lost drachma is like a person lost in sin, far from communion with God and with the brethren in Christ. This lost sinner, in darkness, as in a dark house, will be saved, rescued from darkness by the action of the Holy Spirit (candle lit) in the church.
The woman's first attitude is to light a candle. She will not sleep and wait for dawn, clear, to find what has been lost. It means that no work in the Kingdom of God can be done in an earthly way only (without a candle). The diligence of the woman in the search is a process of transformation, of revising attitudes, concepts that impede the relation with God. The woman seeking the lost drachma is a lesson in the Church's cooperation in how love for God and observance of Biblical principles can influence the world (dark house).
It is interesting to realize that the lost drachma exposes the direct relationship between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of men. A drachma, a lost sinner, carries with it so many others. This is the priceless value of a life! The organization of the lost drachma returning to the necklace, to its place, is like a soul washed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus that through the testimony of life brings more people to the Kingdom of God.
The woman swept the house. I imagine that he swept in a way he had never swept: raising carpets, moving furniture from the place, approaching the lamp, lowering himself. She examined each corner and wiped away all dirt.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the sinner exposes all sin as the light exposes the dirt:
"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not into the light, lest his deeds be reproved: but he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, for they are Made in God. "John 3: 20,21
The conversion from darkness to light, from sin to salvation, is a path of renunciation, purification. It is like this "sweeping" of the house, the dirt bothers and there is a whole effort to recover the communion with God, to be in His presence. Once transformed, the repentant sinner is like this found drachma whose new and different works rejoice the heart of God.
That drachma seemed worthless ... And so are so many lives that in the eyes of men seem insignificant, but in the eyes of God they are incalculable. So are also sins that seem small, imperceptible, but yet they hinder relationship with God. It will be necessary to light the lamp, to fill the life with the Holy Spirit of God so that there is space for no evil, no darkness.
The drachma and the family:
We could also relate the diligent woman in the parable to a mother who has nine children and one of them is lost: in crimes, drugs, prostitution, begging and so on. This woman seeks God intensely so that in her home the presence of God will transform the family, removing imperfections and narrowing relationships. The son is rescued by the diligence of the mother filled with the Holy Spirit: prayer, love, patience, testimony.
The parable makes clear the love of God for the sinner and the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion. Only under God's dependence can one understand the value of a lost life. The relation of the nine drachmas to what has been lost is a formidable lesson of cooperation between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of men. How wonderful to know that there is a living and effective God engaged in human happiness, a God who sees the inaccessible places of the human mind and spirit. A God who sheds light in the darkness not to condemn, but to save and because of His great and incomparable love is that the sinner is constrained to repent. It is the love of the living and resurrected Christ who saves, who seeks diligently and daily man: excluded (outside the collar), distant (without communion, hidden).
God bless you.