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Parable of the Three Losts

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Luke 15

What are we told by Luke?

Verse 1 says that Jesus attracted sinners. 

      “They came to him”

It is significant that Jesus attracted sinners.  The Pharisees considered sinners disgusting because they were “Holy.”

I have thought about this passage in a little different light recently.

Sinners - Let’s think of these people along the lines of the way the Pharisees would think.

People not worthy of the gospel.

A week ago as I looked out at a sea of faces - all that were of black skin - I thought about those who not long ago, who in this country were not allowed into white churches because of the color of their skin.

I thought about those who for more than a thousand years did not see any missionary activity.

And here in America - and please don’t crucify me - one of the views I did see while I was 9,000 miles away was the tears streaming down the faces of those who have felt oppressed for hundreds of years.

The point - what person, or group of people would disturb you if Jesus spent more time with them than he did you.  Or, if he spent time with them you may wonder about his holiness.

Or, if they did accept Jesus how much would they need to conform to American religious traditions to be acceptable?

 Lost sinners came to Jesus, not because He wanted them to continue to live in sin.

but because He cared for them. He understood their needs and tried to help them.

The Pharisees had a knowledge of the Old Testament Law and a desire for personal purity, yet they had no love for lost souls.

Three words summarize the message of this chapter:





Jesus spoke three parables to show the Pharisees and scribes why he would be around sinners.

This chapter makes it clear that there is one message of salvation: God welcomes and forgives repentant sinners.

Since one of the major themes of this chapter is joy, we will look at three different joys.

The joy of finding a lost sheep.


The Owner - And the lost item ( in this case the lost item would at the very least be fearful because it was a living being


The owner seeks

I have come to seek and to save that which is lost

If the shepherd lost a sheep he would have to pay for it and be considered a careless shepherd.

By leaving the ninety-nine sheep, the shepherd was not saying they were unimportant to him. They were safe but the lost sheep was in danger. The fact that the shepherd would go after one sheep is proof that each animal was dear to him.

Does God love everyone?  Does God stop seeking for people to get saved?

The shepherd finds the sheep; and there is rejoicing in heaven.

We know this is talking about God because Jesus says there is joy in heaven.

The finding a lost coin


The Owner and the lost item (in this case the lost item would have no idea that it was lost - inanimate)

The owner seeks

I have come to seek and to save that which is lost

When a Jewish girl married, she began to wear a headband of ten silver coins to signify that she was now a wife. It was the Jewish version of our modern wedding ring, and it would be considered a calamity for her to lose one of those coins.

To lose might mean she was a wicked woman.

Palestinian houses were dark, so they lit a lantern to find that coin.      

What happened when she found it?  Rejoicing in heaven.

What happens when some one accepts the Lord?  Angels rejoice in heaven.

Jesus looks for lost men and women.

The story of the lost son

Here the story changes - the lost item chooses to be lost

This is the other side of the coin.  I want to go away from the care of my father. The

Father reluctantly lets him go.


This story is different from the rest. 

In the first two illustrations the people lost the sheep or the coin accidentally.

In this story, the son wants to go away from his father.

Briefly, he asks his father for his inheritance and he wants to leave.  His father gives him the inheritance and lets him go even though his heart is broken.  This would also disgrace this father in the community.

The son is away and he does not find happiness.

He has spent all his money.

And he is working on a pig farm.  That alone would be tough just because of the smell. 

Look at what he says in versesm17-19

But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!    I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;

I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”

What does this mean?

      The lowest in his father’s house are better than he is.

I would rather be the lowest here on earth in Jesus family, than the highest one in the family of the devil.

But he know that he had to say he was sorry.  I am not worthy to be your son make me like one of your servants.

He humbled himself before God

The Pharisees didn’t think they were sinners, but that they were better than the people coming to Jesus.

It is only those who realize that they have sinned against God and cannot make God happy by what they do that are able to be saved.

When the son came back, the father threw a party, putting good clothes upon his son and bringing him back into the family.

Jesus came to seek and to save the ones who were lost and who would come to him with a repentant heart, wanting to find forgiveness.

The real story here is not about the three lost items.  They demonstrate the owners desire for his possession and the need to come back to the Father.

The real story is about the brother.  He represents the Scribes and the Pharisees.

 I have been around all this religion and I have done what is right but I am clueless about the needed relationship.

I have come to seek and to save that which is lost

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