Luke 15

Eating with sinners; the lost sheep 1
The lost coin 8
The son leaves his father 11
He decides to return 17
Received by the father 21
The elder son disapproves 25
1 ¶ Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2  And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
3  And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4  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?
5  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6  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.
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.
   1 - Drew near ... sinners In the previous chapter, Jesus was eating with an important Pharisee where He told several parables lu1401. He is still there or nearby. The Pharisees and scribes clearly didn't approve of the intrusion of publicans and sinners. Thus the setting of the three stories to follow.
   4 - Leave the ninety and nine The Pharisees and scribes considered themselves to be the saved ones. Jesus didn't contest this but picked up on their point to emphasize the value of lost souls.
   4 - Wilderness This phrase is easy to miss. Those who thought themselves among the 99 saved ones, also thought they were in the green pastures, not the wilderness ps02302.
   4 - Go after ... lost What comfort to the sinner, to you and me!
   Misunderstanding Some look at verses like this and believe that God will not leave any sheep out of heaven. See note below.
   6 - Rejoice with me What joy it is for those who love the Lord to learn of others who have come to Him. The lesson for us is to avoid hating people who are different.
   7 - Joy in heaven A significant point of the chapter. And in the context, the Pharisees should have been joyful that sinners were coming to Jesus.
8  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?
9  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.
10  Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

8 - One piece Picture it as part of her dowry, her security in case of disaster.
   Why three stories? There are different kinds of lost people. Like the coin, some don't know it. The sheep know the ideas but didn't know how to come back, and the son knew the way and responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. And the elder brother? He makes a 4th category. See on v25.
11 ¶ And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12  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.
13  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.

  11 - Certain man ... two sons This well-known parable is considered an excellent "short story" by people who study literature. All of the parables of Jesus as we read them in the Bible are very short but packed with meaning. This one, compared to the stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin, emphasizes the importance of repentance – the human part in being reconciled with God.
 12 - Younger He didn't understand his father or his own need. From his change in lifestyle we see that he didn't like the one at home. He was not honoring his parents ex2012. Also see lu0252. He represents those who make no profession of following God.
  13 - Far country Resisting the Father's influence.
  13 - Wasted The attitude of rejecting the loving way of orderly living God sets before us naturally leads to wasting our resources of health, morality and money.
Images for this parable are from Christ's Object Lessons, 1900
14  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
16 and he longed to make a hearty meal of the pods the swine were eating, but no one gave him any. (Weymouth NT)

  14 - Spent all ... famine With a bad situation both personally and nationally, things did not look good. Carefulness with his resources could have protected him from the economic problem.
  14 - Be in want Friends he may have had were interested only in enjoying his wealth.
  15 - Joined ... to a citizen Essentially selling himself into slavery.
  15 - Feed swine A really humiliating job for a Jew.
  16 - Husks "large pods growing on the carob-tree. They have a sweetish pulp, and small seeds like beans. Swine are fed on them, and poor people sometimes eat them." (Family Bible Notes). The husks would apparently be the outer shell without the little beans.
.17  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!
.18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
 19  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
 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.
  17 - Came to himself He had been happily self-deceived. God allows crises in our lives to help us understand our real need.
  17 - Hired servants They were not slaves. We may choose to be slaves in the sense of committing our lives, without reservation, to God. For "slaves" see on ro0618.
  19 - No more worthy This was true, as it is for us.
  20 - Arose ... came The Spirit calls but it is up to us to respond. Our Father in heaven runs to meet us and covers us with His robe.
.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.
.22  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:
 23  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
.24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

  21 - Son said But he wasn't able to finish his little speech v18.
  22 - Ring Probably a signet ring for sealing documents es0310. He was fully a son.
  24 - Son was dead He was physically and mentally active but spiritually dead and thus without hope for eternal life. Compare jn0524, ro0802.
.25  Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
 26  And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
 27  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.
 28  And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
 29  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:
 30  But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
 31  And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
 32  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.
   25 - Elder son He was lost, too, but was satisfied with false security. The Pharisees and scribes probably related personally to this v2.
  28 - Would not go in Selfish interests cut off our connection with the Christ who loves sinners.
  29 - I do serve thee He was the son who chose to be a servant while his brother, in sorrow for his sin, had become a son.
  32 - Brother was dead ... is found Finding the lost is the objective of our heavenly Father. This joy which the elder son refused to enter into is the object of all three parables: the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son. See that joy in mt2521.

Note on universal salvation
    Some believe that everyone will be saved. When the one lost sheep in Jesus' story was found, the fold had none missing. The idea of universal salvation, however, begins to have problems when we look at more texts and at the context of this one which you can see above. Here are some points to read and pray about.

Jesus' story about one sheep lost out of ninety-nine was to emphasize the value of the souls of sinners v1. Even one is worth going after. The Jewish leaders needed to understand this. Elsewhere He spoke of His sheep as only those who knew His voice jn1027. Since He is the only way of salvation ac0412, the other sheep would be lost.
The descriptions of the broad and the narrow ways mt0713 and of the sheep and goats mt2531. include groups of lost people.
The Scriptures describe eternal death, ceasing to exist ob16, ez2819, mal0401.
Universal salvation violates the principle of free will re2217.

On God being unfair by requiring an intelligent understanding of truth
This would be a good argument for universal salvation if it were completely true.
God provides light. Those who turn from it to choose darkness are condemned jn0109, 2th0210.
Responsibility depends on the light we have ja0417, ac1730, ro0119+.
The book of Revelation is a blessing also for those who can't or don't read re0103.

On a later chance to be saved
The idea that some will be raptured and some saved later has no true support in the Scriptures re0107b. It will mean the loss of many souls who put off being ready .
Before the coming of Jesus the wicked and righteous will be unchangeable re2211.
During the time of the seven last plagues, the wicked do not repent re1611.

On being unable to be lost after being in a saved condition
See on mt1028.

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