Luke 15: Parables of the Lost

Why would tax collectors and sinners have an interest in hearing Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:1 At this time, many tax collectors and sinners came to hear Jesus.
King James
Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

Why did the Pharisees avoid sinners? Why did Jesus do the opposite?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:2–6 The Pharisees and teachers of the Law complained, saying, “This man eats and has fellowship with outcasts.”
So Jesus repeated this illustration: “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one wanders away, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside to find the one that is lost? When he finds the stray, he will carry it on his shoulders, rejoicing. At home, he will call his friends and neighbors and say, ‘Let’s celebrate because I have found my sheep that was lost.'”
King James
Luke 15:2–6 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:2–6 Verse Text
1:2 Verse Text
King James
Luke 15:2–6 Verse Text
1:2 Verse Text

How can those in Heaven know about one sinner who repents?

Author’s Thoughts
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Luke 15:7 “I assure you, it is the same way in Heaven. There will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than for ninety-nine who have not strayed.”
King James
Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

When does one give up hope for that which is lost?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:8–10 “If a woman loses one of her ten silver coins, won’t she light a lamp and sweep the house, searching until she finds it? And when she finds the coin, she will call her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Come rejoice with me. I have found the coin that was lost.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when one sinner repents.”
King James
Luke 15:8–10 Either 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? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours 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.

If the father knew what his son would do with his inheritance, why did he let him go?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:11–12 Jesus said, “There once was a man with two sons, and the younger son said, ‘Father, give me my portion of your estate now.’ So his father divided his wealth between the two sons.”
King James
Luke 15:11–12 And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

What did the younger son learn after wasting his inheritance?

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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:11–19 Jesus said, “There once was a man with two sons, and the younger son said, ‘Father, give me my portion of your estate now.’ So his father divided his wealth between the two sons. Before long, the young son collected all he had and went to a faraway country, where he wasted all his inheritance on the pursuit of pleasure. About the time his money was gone, a severe famine spread across the land. Penniless and hungry, he went to work for a country farmer, who sent him to feed the pigs. He would have gladly eaten the bean pods he fed to the pigs, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said to himself, My father’s hired men have enough food to throw away, and here I am, starving. I will go home and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son, so let me be one of your hired men.
King James
Luke 15:11–19 And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Why did the father run to embrace his son?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:20 “So he headed home. He was still a long way off when his father saw him coming. Full of compassion, the father ran to embrace and kiss his son.”
King James
Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

What sin had the son committed that made him feel unworthy?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:21 “‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'”
King James
Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

Why didn’t the father accept his son’s desire to be a hired servant?

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Luke 15:22–24 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring the finest robe and get him cleaned up and dressed. Put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. Butcher the best calf so we can have a feast and celebrate, because my son was dead and has returned alive. He was lost but now is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
King James
Luke 15:22–24 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Why did the older son resent his brother’s celebration?

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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:25–30 “The older son had been in the field. As he came closer to the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing, so he called one of the servants to learn what was going on. ‘Your brother has returned,’ the servant said. ‘Your father has killed the best calf and called for a celebration because your brother is alive and well.’ The brother was angry and refused to go in, so his father came out and pleaded with him. The brother said, ‘For all these years, I have served you and never disobeyed your instructions. You never gave me as much as a scrawny goat so I could have a feast with my friends. But the moment this rebel son of yours comes home, the one who wasted your wealth on prostitutes, you kill our best calf for him.'”
King James
Luke 15:25–30 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

What important lesson did the older son need to learn?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 15:31–32 “‘Son, you are always with me,’ the father said. ‘Everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate because your brother was dead and has returned alive. He was lost but now is found.'”
King James
Luke 15:31–33 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.