Introduction to Luke 15

Luke 15:1-3  Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. {2} And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. {3} And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

 

I.    Luke 15 contains three parables in one.

A.  We often think there are three parables in Luke 15, but in reality there is only one parable.

1.   Even though this is one parable, we will divide it into three separate lessons, treating it like each illustration is a parable.

2.   The lesson taught is one.

3.   The illustrations are three.

a)   Notice Verse 3 - And he spake this parable unto them.

b)   Verse 4 begins the first illustration of this parable, and verse 7 gives the purpose of the illustration.

c)   Verse 8 begins the second illustration of this parable, and verse 10 gives the purpose of the illustration.

d)   Verse 11 begins the third illustration of this parable, and verse 25-32 gives the purpose of the illustration.

B.   There is no reference or indication that the illustration of the lost coin, and the prodigal son (elder and younger son) are separate parables.

1.   Notice the separate parables of Matthew 13.

a)   Matt. 13:3 - Christ ...spake many things unto them in parables...

b)   Matt. 13:10 - And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

c)   Matt. 13:24 - Another parable put he forth unto them...

d)   Matt. 13:31 - Another parable put he forth unto them...

e)   Matt. 13:33 - Another parable spake he unto them...

f)    Matt. 13:44 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto...

g)   Matt. 13:45 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto...

h)   Matt. 13:47 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto...

i)       Matt. 13:53 - And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables...

2.      When Christ speaks different parables, the scriptures always refer to them as separate parables.

a.      When Christ speaks the same parable in different lessons, the scriptures are very careful to so state.

b.      Luke 15 contains one parable, with three different lessons.

c.      Christ gives the lessons in this fashion so the self-righteous Pharisees and Scribes will understand they ought to be happy, not only when a lost sheep and a lost coin is found, but also when a wayward son returns home.

C.   The purpose of each illustration is given at the end of the illustration.

1.   Verse 7 gives the purpose of the illustration of the lost sheep.

2.   Verse 10 gives the purpose of the illustration of the lost coin.

3.   Verse 25-32 gives the purpose of the illustration of the prodigal son.

 

II.   The setting.

A.  Jesus gave this parable to the Pharisees who murmured at Him because He receiveth sinners and ate with them.

1.   They were full of their own self-righteousness.

2.   Christ wanted to them to have the true joy of Christians who see sinners gladly enter the presence of Christ.

B.   According to Matt. 13:10-15 - Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in parables so they would hear, but wouldn't understand.

1.   Jesus spoke to them in parables so they would hear and think they understand.

a)   They would understand the primary (physical) instruction given in the parable, because it would be a real life story that they could relate to.

b)   They wouldn't understand the secondary (spiritual) instruction given in the parable, because that was the deeper meaning, which was not allowed to come to them in their unrepentant condition.

2.   It was not given unto these unrepentant Jews to know the purposes of God.

a)   The Pharisees would never be able to see the "big picture" of God's redeeming grace that is applicable to those of every generation.

b)   The Pharisees looked at things their way and believed everybody else was required to look at things they way they looked at them.

c)   They thought that anybody that looked at things different from them must be wrong!

3.   They could never perceive the great love that Christ has for sinners, because they themselves had a deep hate and disrespect for those on a "lower echelon" of religious society than themselves.

a)   They never understood the indescribable love that God has for sinners.

b)   They never understood the sufferings and anguish Christ endured to save sinners.

c)   They will listen to and relate to the good shepherd that risks his own life to save a lost, wandering sheep.

(1)  They are unable to understand what Christ really went through to redeem lost sinners.

(2)  They have never seen themselves as a lost sheep, unable to help themselves.

(3)  They have never felt a need for a Saviour.

d)   Luke 10:29-37 - What they thought of sinners is shows in the story of the "Good Samaritan."

(1) It should be noted (verse 37) that the Pharisees didn't say the Samaritan was the one that showed Christian love.

(2) They said it was he that showed mercy on him.

C.   Jesus gives a parable in three parts to show the self-righteous Pharisees the joy that is present when sinners repent.

1.   When the Pharisees saw that Jesus received sinners, and ate with them, they used that as evidence that He wasn't the Son of God.

2.   The truth is that the Pharisees didn't believe repentance was necessary!

3.   They didn't think they needed their minds changed because they thought they already had a right mind.

4.   They believed that since they were Jews, that birthright made them children of God.

D.  The following song demonstrates the joy that ought to be felt when a lost sinner is saved.

1.         This is the joy every saved person ought to feel.

2.         It makes no difference what others feel, this describes what we ought to feel.

 

THE NINETY AND NINE

There were ninety and nine that safely lay,

In the shelter of the fold;

but one was out on the hills away,

Far off from the gates of gold--

Away on the mountains wild and bare--

Away from the tender Shepherd's care:

Away from the tender Shepherd's care.

 

"Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine,

Are they not enough for Thee?"

But the shepherd made answer:  "This of mine

Has wandered away from Me,

And, although the road be rough and steep,

I go to the desert to find my sheep:

I go to the desert to find my sheep."

 

But none of the ransomed ever knew

How deep were the waters crossed,

Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through

Ere He found His sheep that was lost.

Out in the desert He heard its cry--

Sick and helpless and ready to die,

Sick and helpless and ready to die.

 

"Lord, whence are those blood drops, all the way,

That mark out the mountains track?"

"They were shed for one who had gone astray

Ere the Shepherd could bring him back."

"Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?"

"They are pierced tonight by many a thorn,

"They are pierced tonight by many a thorn."

 

But all through the mountains, thunder-riven

And up from the rocky steep,

There rose a glad cry to the gate of heaven--

"Rejoice! I have found My sheep!"

And the angels echoed around the throne,

"Rejoice! for the Lord brings back His own!

"Rejoice! for the Lord brings back His own!"