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The Prodigal Sheep

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The Lost Sheep Parable

Introduction
Background
Previous sermon series
The three prodigal stories…
Culture of the day:
meals
Tax collectors and sinners
Sheep in the ancient world
What the series is gonna look like
1
Context: 14:35… Let him who has ears… Now we shift into the sinners listening/drawing near to him
Worth noting as a contrast to the preceding chapter opening.
2--
The pharisees and the teachers of the law are muttering. This is a depiction of them that we have seen on several occasions.
“this man” is the same phrase used to describe the man who couldn’t complete the tower.
This grumbling has been the prompt for several bis of teaching in the book of Luke…
3-4
The whole parable is actually one long question… it is first in a series of parables that establish agreement in a lesser to greater style argument.
Opening of this parable is similar to the opening of chapter 14, when referencing the healing of the man on the sabbath. This is of particular note because the concept is similar...
Similar question… if your animal… would you save it?
Sheep… Some were pets… They generally learned their own names and their master’s voice. Would come when called.
The assumption is that sheep just wander off. The same assumption is made in other portions of the book in reference to all men… we are all sinners, fallen men. As a result, we all wander off...
Out in the open— There is no indication of who would watch them. They might be penned in or whatever, but it doesn’t matter for the purpose of the story. The detail isn’t mentioned because they aren’t the primary focus of the story.
The implication is that this is the owner of the sheep that is looking for them. He will be more apt to search carefully and tirelessly for the animal.
… here is a good spot to insert the prophet’s words
5
Carries it on his shoulders— the leg breaking thing is fake. This is done because lost sheep generally become distressed and disoriented. They do not follow home easily. Carrying the sheep back is a practical consideration. Beyond that, the sheep is heavy. To carry it forever would be awful.
The emphasis here is on the shepherd’s effort to recover the sheep and then then his effort carrying it home, then his celebration over recovering the sheep.
6
The end of the question… the assumed answer is “of course we would do that”. it is an implied answer. Rhetorical question.
The point of the parable is the celebration that takes place after the recovery of the lost sheep. The celebration is a big deal and is the counterpoint to what is happening in the situation they are in...
This is also the counterpoint to what will happen in the prodigal son parable. The pharisees are the primary target of these messages. They are the shepherds from
7--
This is essentially saying that God celebrates when sinners repent.
The pharisees don’t celebrate though, this is the point of the question. The reason they don’t is because they are following the wrong thing. They think they are following God, but they are following the gloss. The religious rules to build their righteousness to the point that they are acceptable to God.
The older brother does the same thing… he doesn’t celebrate because he has no love for his father or his brother. The father rejoices, but the younger son doesn’t rejoice with him… he is too busy complaining that his work hasn’t earned him more.
They do’t celebrate because they are not invested as a heart issue. They are trained to act or earn. Either way, they don’t love the Lord.
The pharisees are missing the point. Matt Emmons— would’ve won the gold medal in shooting, shot the wrong target. Their eye was on the wrong target… they were aiming at the outside observance rather than the inside reality.
The prodigal son
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