In many villages, even today, in the Middle East, the ceremony of binding the head performed on the first day of the young bride's womanhood in the presence of invited female guests is still performed. In some regions the bridegroom's family presents the bride with a headdress decorated with gold coins.
This becomes the bride's personal property and forms a financial support for the new family, as it can be changed into money in time of need. It also serves as an indication of the woman's financial status. The silver ornaments on the headdress are in the nature of a talisman against evil and misfortune, and serve to preserve the wearer's health and strength.
If the bride used the money without the husband's knowledge and approval, it reflects badly on her and the husband can chose to divorce her.
When the Pharisees and the scribes questioned Jesus about eating with the tax collectors and sinners, Jesus, in typical Jewish fashion, gave them graphic explanation with this illustration.
Imagine, if you were the woman who lost one of your "treasured" possessions - a gift from a loved one. How would you really feel... while you search for the lost item and when you finally find it? Most certainly, a feast is in order.
Now, with the same emotions, imagine Jesus seeking each one of us out. He doesn't see the tax collector or the sinner in you and me. In the same likeness of that "precious" possession in His parable, He looks for us, with the same concern and urgency, as the woman with the coin.
The sinner who is largely ignorant of himself and passive in the hands of those with whom he associates is symbolized in the lost coin. People can be lost not only in dens of iniquity but also in good homes and churches. It seems it's not that hard to ignore or forget GOD. Were you "on-fire" for GOD once? Not so much now?
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: Revelation 3:14-17
The Garden of Eden was the most conducive of environments, but it did not guarantee that man would live God's way of life. This does not negate the value of a godly home.
The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Proverbs 3:33
Such a home obviously gives a person a far greater advantage in learning how to live God's way of life compared with an ungodly one. Even in a good environment, a person may still be lost .
The coin's lost condition is due to carelessness. The coin is lost because it had fallen from its intended place, just as sin always lowers a person and never lifts up.
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
This negligence of another reminds us that the sin of one person can bring tragic, spiritual consequences upon another. As an example, the backsliding dissenter almost always takes others with him, because it is sin's nature to take others down with it.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 2 Peter 2:1-2
False teachers can and do put many "coins" on the floor spiritually.
The coin becomes useless and unclean, just as a person does through sin. While lost, the coin is essentially worthless. Likewise, an unrepentant sinner is useless to God and of no benefit to others. The apostle Paul was a lost coin, as it were, until he met Christ for the first time on the road to Damascus.
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Acts 9:1-6
Sin destroys our value in service to both God and man; we become useless.
If the coin fell on the floor, it fell onto one of the dirtiest places in the house, making it unclean. The woman's sweeping of the floor indicates it was dirty. This defilement of the coin shows what sin does to a person: It pollutes, thereby defiling him. The only spiritual cleansing agent that will cleanse away the filth is the blood of Jesus Christ.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7-9
In the eyes of God, the sinner, represented by the coin, is not only a suffering being, but he is also precious, created in God's image and assigned a part in the accomplishment of His plans. In the illustration of the coin, the lost person is seen from God's perspective-he is one who has great value, the loss of which God feels. In considering this, we should realize the great effect of sin upon God's glory and interests.
The candle, or lamp, represents both the Word and the Spirit of God.