Luke 15

15:1 Now the tax collectors [Jews who collected taxes for the Roman Empire; usually overcharged and pocketed the difference] and “sinners” [those in need of help; cf. Lk. 5:31-32] were all gathering around to hear him.

15:2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners [those considered social and religious outcasts by the Pharisees] and eats with them.”

Note: Jesus shared three parables in response to the condemnation He received from religious leaders because of His association with sinners (Lk. 15:1-2).
[1] The Parable of the Lost Sheep Luke 15:1-7
[2] The Parable of the Lost Coin Luke 15:8-10
[3] The Parable of the Lost Son Luke 15:11-32

15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable:

15:4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses [perhaps the sheep strayed away] one of them. Does he not leave [the shepherd took the initiative] the ninety-nine [these sheep were safe (left in the care of a fellow shepherd)] in the open country and go after the lost sheep [this sheep was in danger] until he finds it?

15:5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders

15:6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one [each individual is of value to God] sinner [“the tax collectors and sinners” (15:1)] who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

15:8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins [may have been part of her wedding dowry; may represent her household budget or perhaps her life’s savings] and loses one [one-tenth]. Does she not [note the woman’s diligence in searching for her lost coin…] [1] light a lamp [to enable her to see into every dark corner of her house], [2] sweep the house and [3] search carefully until she finds it?

15:9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’

15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God [God Himself rejoices in the presence of His angels] over one sinner who repents.”

15:11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.

15:12 The younger one [selfish; only interested in himself] said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share [an inheritance normally received after father’s death; older brother entitled to a double share of the father’s estate (cf. Deut. 21:17); son not concerned about how his request might impact the father’s ability to provide for himself and estate] of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

15:13 “Not long after [soon] that, the younger son got together all he had [perhaps converted his inheritance to cash], set off [anxious to get away from his father] for a distant [as far as possible from his father; away from the influence of his father; a place where no one knew him] country [probably Gentile territory since pigs were raised there as per v. 15; cf. Isa. 53:6] and there squandered [to waste; to throw to the wind; to scatter in various directions] his wealth in wild [includes broad range of self-indulgent, irresponsible, and immoral activities] living [Gr. asotos: word only occurs here in the NT; means debauched lifestyle, one without purpose, a reckless experience; older brother accused him of having squandered his money with prostitutes (cf. Lk. 15:30)].

15:14 After he had spent everything [something he had control over], there was a severe famine [something beyond his control] in that whole country, and he began to be in need [needs: what we must have in order to survive; to be behind; to fall short].

15:15 So he went and hired himself out [to glue together, to join, denotes he forced himself on a citizen of the country] to a citizen [probably a Gentile] of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs [most degraded occupation known to the Jews; cf. Lev. 11:7 and Deut. 14:8 re: what Mosaic law said about pigs].

15:16 He longed [lusted] to fill his stomach with the pods [sweet-tasting pods of the carob tree] that the pigs were eating, but no one [including his former friends] gave him anything.

15:17 “When he came to his senses [began to think more clearly about his situation; convicted of his sin and aware of his desperate plight; an idiom for repentance], he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men [lowest ranking servants; day laborers with little personal security] have food to spare [indicates kindness of father to hired men], and here I am starving to death [he was physically and spiritually starving]!

15:18 I will set out and go back [required an act of the will] to my father and say [his words indicate that a change had occurred in his heart] to him: Father, I have sinned [note order] against [1] heaven [God; cf. Ps. 51:4] and against [2] you [disobeyed the fifth commandment].

15:19 I am no longer worthy [cf. with attitude of older brother who felt he was worthy (v. 29)] to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’

15:20 So he got up and went [acted on his decision] to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him [perhaps the father had been looking down the road every day, hoping that his son would return] and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to [an unthinkable thing for a father to do in that day] his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him [signs of emotion, acceptance, and forgiveness].

15:21 “The son said [cf. Lk. 15:18-19] to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son [the son was not able to finish his confession as he had planned it (note 15:19b)].’

15:22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe [worn by people of substance; given to a guest of honor] and put it on him. Put a ring [signet ring; probably engraved with family seal or mark] on his finger and sandals [a symbol of freedom and sonship; slaves did not wear shoes] on his feet [restored to status of a son, not a servant].

15:23 Bring the fattened calf [reserved for a special occasion] and kill it [the height of hospitality]. Let’s have a feast [younger son was guest of honor] and celebrate.

15:24 For this son [represents “the tax collectors and sinners” of verse 1] of mine was dead [as one dead or lost to his father] and is alive again [found]; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate [cf. Lk. 15:6,9].

15:25 “Meanwhile, the older son [represents “the Pharisees and the teachers of the law” of verse 2] was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music [instrumental music] and dancing.

15:26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.

15:27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound [or in good health].’

15:28 “The older brother became angry [he did not rejoice that his brother had returned] and refused to go in. So his father went out [just as he had gone out to meet the returning younger brother (15:20)] and pleaded with him.

15:29 But he answered [the older son had much pent-up anger and frustration] 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.

15:30 But when this son of yours [rather than “my brother”] who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

15:31 “‘My son,’ the father [obviously loved the older son very much] said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

15:32 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.’

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