Spring 2021 Bible Reading Plan, Week 11: Luke 15 - The Lost Sheep, Lost Coin & Prodigal
This week's Scripture passage is Luke 15.
(Click here for a PDF of this week's study.)
Luke 15: The Father and Son Seeking and Saving the Lost: The Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son.
Luke 14 ends with Jesus saying, 'he who has ears, let him hear.' Then immediately in Luke 15 the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear Jesus!
By teaching these 3 parables in this chapter, Jesus demonstrates that God not only receives sinners, but He intentionally seeks them out! And that there is great rejoicing when even one sinner repents!
Verses 1-2: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Verses 3-7: The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Luke 15:6b-7 - ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Verses 8-10: The Parable of the Lost Coin
Luke 15:9b-10 - ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Verses 11-32: The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:17-20, 28-32 - But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
28 But he (the older brother) was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
- In verses 1-2, some of the most despised in the Jewish culture were drawn to Jesus. Yet the most religious, the Pharisees and scribes, grumbled about Jesus receiving these people. What does this tell us about Jesus, the sinners, and the religious? How could the most religious despise what God was doing? What can we learn from this in our lives?
- In response to the religious crowd's grumbling, Jesus uses the next three parables to address the situation. What does Jesus teach about the Father's heart for the lost? The rabbis of the day taught God would receive a repentant sinner, but Jesus' teaching goes much further, showing that God seeks out the sinner.
- Reflect on your own life and consider how the Lord sought you when you were lost in your sin. How did He find you? What situations and circumstances did He work through to bring you to repentance from your sin and then to Him?
- The parable of the prodigal son is as much about the father as the wayward son. The word prodigal means extravagant, excessive, wasteful, recklessly spendthrift, spending until you have nothing left. Some have called it the parable of the prodigal father. Tim Keller wrote a book titled 'The Prodigal God'. What do you see in the father's extravagant heart toward both of his sons that encourages you in your relationship with your heavenly Father?
- Just as the religious leaders grumbled at Jesus receiving sinners, the older brother resented his father's acceptance and celebration in the younger son's repentance and return. What can we learn from Jesus' merciful acceptance of sinners and the older brother's angry and prideful response to his father's lavish rejoicing in the younger son's return?
- What is your testimony? Were you raised under the teaching of God's word, giving your heart to Jesus when you were young and now have followed Him all your life? Have you ever thought you didn't have much of a testimony and wished you had one of those 'exciting powerful testimonies'? Ever been envious or resented the attention that person gets who has that type of testimony...living in terrible sin and then is gloriously, miraculously saved?
- This parable will help you to rejoice in God's lavish grace in your life that kept you from life-destroying sin and will enable you to rejoice in the testimony of God's lavish grace that saved another out of a terribly destructive lifestyle.
- Reflect on the great joy in heaven and on earth when one lost sinner repents and comes to God.