Luke15: 1-32

Written by kathleen on Mar 16, 2014 in - No Comments

Luke 15: 1-32


Oftentimes, we view this parable as being three—the first dealing with a lost sheep, the second with a lost coin, and the third with a lost son. But notice that the word “parable” is singular. It is one parable with three aspects, like one song with three stanzas.…

  • The shepherd of the first stanza speaks of the Son.
  • The woman in the second stanza speaks of the work of the Spirit.
  • The father in the final stanza speaks of the Father heart of God.

This, one of the most popular chapters in the Bible, it  is made up of parables spoken in response to the accusation “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Jesus had left the house of the Pharisee and multitudes of the common people were following Him not only did the multitudes follow Him, but He began to mix with the multitudes. Perhaps eating with the Common people and so the Pharisees and the scribes [who had perhaps also followed Him from the dinner],

1 Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Such was the case as He was dining with the Pharisees not so much watching the way He placed His fork or cut his food; but just watching Him and scrutinizing  Him and that really is what the Greek word watching is. In Eastern culture, it was believed that a mystical union took place between those who shared a meal together. Seen in this light eating takes on an entirely new significance.

The Pharisees divided men into two classes: the unclean and the righteous; and they would have nothing to do with the “unclean.” So they had a real problem with Jesus choosing to hang out with these “sinners” Because He was receiving sinners seeking and finding the lost, they were finding fault. When in reality, the natural reaction of finding something that is lost is that of rejoicing. So He is pointing out how unnatural their position is concerning the fact that He was receiving sinners and eating with them.

The Pharisees believed that somehow the defilement of the sinner could be transmitted to them by touch.

Even if their robe would swish against a sinner and touch him, or a Gentile, they would be unclean and therefore they could not worship God until they had first gone through a process to get rid of the defilement. So to eat with a Gentile or a sinner was absolutely unthinkable.

It is in response to the charge that He received sinners that Jesus gives the following parable.(singular)

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Israel was an agrarian society most of them were involved in some way in agriculture. The setting was extremely familiar to them. The flocks of sheep were very familiar. They all knew one of the problems with sheep was the fact that they had a tendency to just stray off. And once they had strayed, they had no way of finding their way back and, it was in danger of losing its life because of their prey; so one of the major tasks of the shepherd was to protect the flock from the wolves and other prey

And so Jesus tells a story of the shepherd counting the sheep as they are coming into the enclosure and he finds one is missing. And after looking; when he finds the sheep, he puts it on his shoulders and rejoices as he comes back with that sheep that had been lost.

The natural response to finding something that is lost is that of rejoicing and when he finds the sheep, the shepherd not angry but is happy and rejoicing!  (car keys or a wallet or phone)

There are those times when we stray and the Holy Spirit goes looking and then we are found; Jesus carries us back to the father and He does it with rejoicing, not with a  grudge, but gladly For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)

Why does Jesus associate with sinners? Because God naturally wants to recover His things that are lost, just like us.

By now the parable is being directed against the attitude of the Pharisees because of His relationship to sinners

The first part of this parable of the lost sheep & the  shepherd is obviously Jesus Christthe son”  (sheppperd) who went out to find the lost sheep. He said, “I’ve come to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). He also said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (John 10:11)

The application is plain in two ways:1: The lost sheep is that person who had gone astray whom the Lord brings back carrying him, rejoicing that he has been found.

2:Jesus is teaching that God actively seeks out the lost The Pharisee’s did believe that God would receive a sinner who came to Him the right way; but not understanding He actively searches after them.

This was a completely alien thought to these religious leaders. They believed they were more righteous than others were; because they had diligently sought God and others had not.

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’

Continuing with the same idea, you have a woman who has ten drachmae. A drachmae is a little more than a day’s wage. So it represented a sizable amount of money. or it could also represent something else.

In those days when a woman was married, she usually had a necklace of coins that was worn across her forehead. And they were like a wedding ring.  They were a sign that she was married and these were highly prized by the women. It was a precious ornament to the woman, and would make the loss all the more tragic. It could be that she lost one of the ten coins that made up this special necklace;

The floors of the houses were of compacted dirt and they were usually covered with reeds.

There wasn’t much light in the house, just a small single window and so they would have to light a candle in order to find something that dropped on the floor.

And of course, to drop a coin on a floor that was covered with reeds would be sort of like looking for a needle in the haystack. And again, the natural response to finding something that is lost is that of rejoicing.

In this second part of the parable, the woman is a type of the “Holy Spirit” who is searching

2 Chron 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them. TLB

That’s not His only ministry; We know that the Holy Spirit is always drawing people to God though conviction John 16:8-11

8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

A lost coin is worthless. It’s only in someone’s hand that it becomes valuable. The same is true of people.

“Give Me a coin,” Jesus said when asked about taxes. “Whose image is on this coin?” “Caesar’s,” came back the reply. Jesus said. “Then give it to Caesar,”

The question now is: “Whose image are you made in?”

Obviously, the answer is God’s. But if a person is lost, if they’re not saved, if they don’t know the Lord, although they still have value—gifts, personality, all kinds of possibilities but they are worthless outside of God’s hand.

Therefore, the work of the Spirit is to search frantically for them by first lighting the light of the Word; then by searching through inward conviction. And when the person is found, great is the rejoicing.

So as the Pharisees were critical and judgmental because He was receiving sinners and eating with them, and He was “finding those that were lost.” They were out of harmony with heaven. For Jesus said v10

10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons                 which we call the prodigal son.  The word prodigal meaning “wasteful,” for it is a prodigal son who says to his father, “I want things from you but not a relationship with you.” And such were we before we opened our hearts to the Lord.

12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.

16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

Pig slop never satisfies. Be it through career, money, goods, toys, or trinkets is all slop compared to god’s riches, If you’re trying to find fulfillment or satisfaction, you’ll thirst again. The Lord is the only One who will truly satisfy you completely!

In those days, a father could either grant the inheritance before or after his death, but it was usually done after. The younger son asks for a special exception. The father clearly illustrates God’s love. His love would allow rebellion and would respect man’s will. The father more than knew what would happen to the son, but allowed him to go his course none the less.

The son left the area to become independent of the father – but he soon found himself in worse bondage than ever. Pigs were of course considered unclean by Jews and there could be no more disgusting profession than to feed pigs.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!                    

18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’

When the son came to himself, he didn’t join a self-help group. He didn’t seek to repair his inner child. He didn’t blame his friends, his boss, or the pigs.

He went back to his father. Jesus doesn’t say that the man returned to his village or to his home, but to his father.

That is how we need to come back to God – to come back to Him first and foremost, before coming back to church or coming back to Christian friends.

True repentance takes place at the point the sinner, like the prodigal, changes direction and heads toward the Father.

We must come to God willing to be total slaves, but by His love, He makes us total sons.

20 So he got up and went to his father But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

The father had a love that waited, and never forgot the one who was loved, even when he was away.

How passionately did the father receive the son? Kissed him is emphatic; he kissed him repeatedly.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

None of the four things brought to the son were necessities; they are all meant to bless the son and let him know he was loved. The father does much more than meet the son’s needs.

 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27’Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.

30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'”

The older son in this story illustrates the attitude many have about God’s abundant grace toward sinners.

This man misses the party because he’s too busy talking about how faithful he has been and how unfair it is to bless those who do not deserve it. (pharisee’s)

This part of the story is also a warning for those who are unwilling to forgive, restore, and rejoice when sinners come home. They are going to miss the party because they’re standing outside pouting when they should be inside feasting!

 God is a loving and gracious God who loves to restore those have fallen, that is something to celebrate! 
Maybe you have drifted or departed from God. Maybe you’re beginning to experience some of the consequences of living independent of God or seeking fulfillment in sin. The good news is that today you can be restored to right relationship with God. There are three easy steps. . . 1. The first step to a restored relationship with God is to admit the stupidity of staying where you are. 2. The second step to a restored relationship with God is to return to God with a repentant, humble attitude. 3. The third step to a restored relationship with God is to recognize that God will lovingly welcome you home.

Illustration: A recent promotion by H. R. Block Inc. offered walk-in customers a chance to win a drawing for a million dollars. Glen and Gloria Sims of Sewell, New Jersey, won the drawing, but they refused to believe it when an H. R. Block representative phoned them with the good news. After several additional contacts by both mail and phone, the Sims still thought it was all just a scam, and usually hung up the phone or trashed the special notices. Some weeks later, H. R. Block called one more time to let the Sims know the deadline for accepting the million-dollar prize was nearing and that the story of their refusal to accept the prize would appear on an upcoming NBC “Today Show.”

At that point, Mr. Sims decided to investigate further. A few days later he appeared on the “Today Show” to tell America that he and his wife had finally gone to H. R. Block to claim the million-dollar prize. Mr. Sims’ final words were: “From the time this has been going on, H. R. Block explained to us they really wanted a happy ending to all this, and they were ecstatic that we finally accepted the prize

 Jesus is answering the criticism “This Man receives sinners and eats with them” We should never miss the main point: It is only natural of the Son of God to seek the lost.

Is it natural with me to seek the lost? Do I have the heart of God? Who are the lost ones we are seeking to find in the Lord?

Easter is coming the most popular day of church attendance!