Passage: Luke 15
v1-7 - This chapter is all about the care and concern that Jesus has for those who are lost, and the joy He feels when the lost are found. In the first example Jesus gives when the shepherd of 100 sheep notices one missing, the shepherd puts the 99 in a safe place, and searches for the lost sheep until it's found.
v8-10 - In a very similar example, Jesus tells of a woman who's lost one out of her ten silver coins, and the effort she puts into locating the lost coin. Upon it's discovery, she invites her friends over for a celebration, mirroring the celebration that occurs in God's presence when a lost sinner repents. What similarities do you notice in these first two parables?
v11-32 - The famous parable of the prodigal (literally means extravagant and wasteful spending) son adds much more depth to Jesus teaching on the lost being found than the first two examples. This parable must be understood in the context of the opening verses in which the Pharisees grumble that Jesus eats and fellowships with people of ill repute. The younger son represents these sinners that Father is welcoming back through Jesus, and the older son represents people like the Pharisees (and often us), who feel jealous at the celebration of repentant sinners since we've been towing the line and don't seem to get any recognition. Although the father had every right to be angry with this older son, he wisely expresses his love for both of his sons. Jesus' parable doesn't record the reaction of the older son to his Father's love because the parable is not really about either of the sons, rather it's about the never ending love that the Father has for His children, both those who live responsibly, as well as those who live prodigiously (from the same root word as 'prodigal') but eventually repent and return.
Old Testament Reference -
Ezekiel 34 is a warning that God gives to those He had set up as shepherds over His people, but who had let the sheep wander off. See if you can find how many New Testament references are found in this short chapter.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions.
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: When the prodigal son returned home, what three things did the father ask the servants to bring for the son to wear (v22)?
After reading this chapter (and also Ezekiel 34), how would you describe God's love for His people in one sentence?
Why do you think so many people consider this chapter to be the key chapter in Luke's gospel?
Question 1 & 3 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our loving Father who is filled with compassion for His lost children (v21)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Humbly repent of your sinfulness as the prodigal son did (v21), but celebrate that you've been made worthy to be God's son once again because of Jesus
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: