The Lost Sheep (15:1-7)
The Lost Coin (15:8-10)
The Lost Son (15:11-32)
Sinners, sheep, one, lost, find,
rejoicing, repent, coin, son, came to himself, arise and go, sinned,
compassion, ran, fell, kissed, be merry, dead/alive, lost/found.
1a. Common elements: Lost and found; great joy; contrast between
the lost and those that were not lost.
Total number (one hundred, ten, two); the first two parables involve active
searching whereas the last parable does not; the last parable records the
reaction of the one who was not lost; the Lord left the last parable open-ended
without giving a concluding remark.
1b. The difference is the total number, from one hundred to ten to
two, shows an increase in the value of the lost one. The lost becomes dearer to
the heart of the owner in each parable, with the parable of the father and son
as the climactic illustration of God’s love for sinners.
2. It is remarkable that in each parable the owner cannot
contain his joy but shares it with his friends, neighbors, or servants. This is
a dramatic depiction of the great joy that God feels over the repentance of
1b. If God rejoices over the repentance of sinners, why should
Jesus and the religious leaders distance themselves from repentant sinners?
2. Nowhere in any of the parables do we see that the owner
rejoiced over his loss. Rather, they rejoiced when the lost was found. Likewise,
God’s greater joy is over the sinner’s repentance, not over their
sinfulness. God detests sin but desires
righteousness. That is why he rejoices when a sinner returns to the way of
righteousness. As the parable of the lost son teaches us, this joy by no means
6. The woman was persistent and thorough because the coin was
of great value to her. Likewise, God also seeks sinners with the same diligence
because He loves and cares for them.
8a. See 14-16.
9. When he came to himself (17). Awareness of our sins and
wretchedness and remembering God’s abounding love is the key to restoring our
relationship with God.
10. He has become humble and realized his unworthiness. Instead of
demanding from his father, he is now willing to give himself to his father as a
12a. His heart was always on his lost son. The fact that he saw the
son from a great distance suggests that he might have been waiting every day
for the son’s return. The father’s compassion and joy was so great that he did
not hesitate to run to his son (an action hardly befitting the image of a
12b. He is forgiving and full of compassion (cf. Ps 103:8-13). He
eagerly awaits our return and readily accepts us when we come back to Him.
13. cf. Eph 2:1; Col 2:13; Jn 12:35; 2Cor 4:4
14. He has received us as His sons, clothed us with Christ (Gal
3:26-29), given us the Spirit of adoption (Gal 4:6), and poured out on us many
spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3-8).
15. Believers who have remained in God’s care and love.
16a. He cited his obedience and service as if he deserved
commendation, when these were his duties as a son.
16b. He complained that he received nothing from the father when in
fact he was entitled to enjoy all that the father had (31).
16c. He refused to consider the prodigal son his brother.
19. Even though it seems as if the father never went out to look
for the lost son, the story teaches us that it is God who brings sinners back
to him. He does not force us to return to Him, but patiently moves us with His
unfailing love until we are found.
20. More than anything, the parable centers on the father’s
compassion and forgiveness as an illustration of God’s immense love. Whether it
was toward the prodigal son or the angry son, the father always exhibited
patience and gentleness. It is God’s love that makes this story a living
reality, and it is God’s love that motivates us to extend this love to our
brothers who are lost.