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The Prodigal Son (Luke 15)

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The Parable Of The Prodigal (1)

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The Parable Of The Prodigal (3): The Unreality In Luke 15





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Luke 15

The lost sheep
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to him to hear him teach. 2 And both the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receives sinners and eats with them. 3 And he spoke to them this parable, saying: 4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep and having lost one of them, does not leave the other ninety nine in the wilderness and go after that which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them: Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost! 7 I say to you, that even so there shall be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, than over ninety nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.

The lost coin
   8 Or what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she loses one piece, does not light a lamp and sweeps the house and seeks diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Even so, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.

The lost sons
   11 And he said: A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the inheritance of property that is coming to me. And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered into money all he had, and took a journey into a far country; and there he squandered his inheritance in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that country, and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he would gladly have filled his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to his senses he said: How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough to spare, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will rise and go to my father, and will say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants. 20 And he rose and went to his father. But while he was yet far away, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran and embraced and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. 22 But the father said to his servants: Bring quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf, kill it and let us eat and make merry. 24 For this my son who was dead, is alive again! He was lost and is found! And they began to be merry.
   25 Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and inquired what these things might mean. 27 And he said to him: Your brother came, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound. 28 But he was angry and would not go in; and his father came out and encouraged him. 29 But he answered and said to his father: Look! For so many years I have served you, and I never transgressed a commandment of yours, and yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But when this your son came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said to him: Son, you are ever with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But it was fitting to celebrate and be glad. For this your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost and is found.



15:4 The answer is: No shepherd does this, nor does he throw a party for the sake of that sheep (v. 6). The point of unreality would’ve in these parables would’ve been immediately noticed by the first century hearers. The point of unreality is what teaches the lesson- in this case, that God is exceptionally concerned about the lost. As we should be too.

15:8 Her dowry was all that a woman possessed; even her body wasn’t hers. To lose a dowry coin was therefore to lose part of herself; this is how hard God takes when He loses one of His people. She searched “until she finds it”- God, and we too, should search for the lost with the attitude that we will search until we find them. We certainly should not exclude any of God’s people from His house; we should search passionately for any who leave.

15:12 This request was equivalent to saying ‘I wish you were dead’.

15:20 For an old man to run publically was seen as undignified. This unreal feature of the story shows just how much he was delighted his son was returning; it speaks of the radical joy of God when we return to Him. When a prodigal returned to a village, they would’ve been badly mocked by everyone who knew them. The father therefore ran to the son to shield him from the name calling and stone throwing of children. We should seek to shield from shame those who ‘come back’ .

15:32 The vital point of Jesus’ parables is often at the end. This story isn’t so much about a sinner coming home, but about self-righteous people within the house of God who say “If he’s coming back, I’m out of here”.