Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 15: "This Man Receiveth Sinners"
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"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed
upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." I John
3:1. And Christ says, "As Thou hast sent Me into the
world, even so have I also sent them into the world" (John
17:18)—to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions
of Christ, . . . for His body's sake, which is the church."
Col. 1:24. Every soul whom Christ has rescued is called to
work in His name for the saving of the lost. This work
had been neglected in Israel. Is it not neglected today by
those who profess to be Christ's followers?
How many of the wandering ones have you, reader,
sought for and brought back to the fold? When you turn
from those who seem unpromising and unattractive, do you
realize that you are neglecting the souls for whom Christ
is seeking? At the very time when you turn from them,
they may be in the greatest need of your compassion. In
every assembly for worship, there are souls longing for rest
and peace. They may appear to be living careless lives,
but they are not insensible to the influence of the Holy
Spirit. Many among them might be won for Christ.
If the lost sheep is not brought back to the fold, it
wanders until it perishes. And many souls go down to
ruin for want of a hand stretched out to save. These erring
ones may appear hard and reckless; but if they had received
the same advantages that others have had, they might have
revealed far more nobility of soul, and greater talent for [p. 192] usefulness. Angels pity these wandering ones. Angels
weep, while human eyes are dry and hearts are closed to
O the lack of deep, soul-touching sympathy for the
tempted and the erring! O for more of Christ's spirit, and
for less, far less, of self!
The Pharisees understood Christ's parable as a rebuke
to them. Instead of accepting their criticism of His work,
He had reproved their neglect of the publicans and sinners.
He had not done this openly, lest it should close their
hearts against Him; but His illustration set before them the
very work which God required of them, and which they
had failed to do. Had they been true shepherds, these
leaders in Israel would have done the work of a shepherd.
They would have manifested the mercy and love of Christ,
and would have united with Him in His mission. Their
refusal to do this had proved their claims of piety to be
false. Now many rejected Christ's reproof; yet to some
His words brought conviction. Upon these, after Christ's
ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit came, and they united
with His disciples in the very work outlined in the parable
of the lost sheep.
The Lost Piece of Silver
After giving the parable of the lost sheep Christ spoke
another, saying, "What woman having ten pieces of silver,
if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep
the house, and seek diligently till she find it?"
In the East the houses of the poor usually consisted of
but one room, often windowless and dark. The room was
rarely swept, and a piece of money falling on the floor
would be speedily covered by the dust and rubbish. In
order that it might be found, even in the daytime, a candle
must be lighted, and the house must be swept diligently. [p. 193]
The wife's marriage portion usually consisted of pieces
of money, which she carefully preserved as her most
cherished possession, to be transmitted to her own daughters.
The loss of one of these pieces would be regarded as
a serious calamity, and its recovery would cause great
rejoicing, in which the neighboring women would readily
"When she hath found it," Christ said, "she calleth her
friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with
me, for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise,
I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels
of God over one sinner that repenteth."
This parable, like the preceding, sets forth the loss of
something which with proper search may be recovered, and
that with great joy. But the two parables represent different
classes. The lost sheep knows that it is lost. It has
left the shepherd and the flock, and it cannot recover itself.
It represents those who realize that they are separated from
God and who are in a cloud of perplexity, in humiliation,
and sorely tempted. The lost coin represents those who are
lost in trespasses and sins, but who have no sense of their
condition. They are estranged from God, but they know it
not. Their souls are in peril, but they are unconscious and [p. 194] unconcerned. In this parable Christ teaches that even those
who are indifferent to the claims of God are the objects of
His pitying love. They are to be sought for that they may
be brought back to God.
The sheep wandered away from the fold; it was lost in
the wilderness or upon the mountains. The piece of silver
was lost in the house. It was close at hand, yet it could be
recovered only by diligent search.
This parable has a lesson to families. In the household
there is often great carelessness concerning the souls
of its members. Among their number may be one who is
estranged from God; but how little anxiety is felt lest in
the family relationship there be lost one of God's entrusted
The coin, though lying among dust and rubbish, is a
piece of silver still. Its owner seeks it because it is of value.
So every soul, however degraded by sin, is in God's sight
accounted precious. As the coin bears the image and
superscription of the reigning power, so man at his creation
bore the image and superscription of God; and though now
marred and dim through the influence of sin, the traces
of this inscription remain upon every soul. God desires to
recover that soul and to retrace upon it His own image
in righteousness and holiness.
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