Lost and Found

KEY VERSE: “This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” —Luke 15:24


JESUS HAD ATTRACTED a large crowd of listeners which not only included scribes and Pharisees, but also publicans and sinners. When the Pharisees and scribes murmured against Jesus, saying, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Luke 15:2), Jesus spoke several parables illustrating the fact that all were sinners who needed to be sought after and saved, including the Pharisees themselves.

The first parable was about the man who had one hundred sheep and one became separated from the flock and lost. He left the ninety and nine to search for the one lost sheep, and when he found it he said to his friends and neighbors, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” (Luke 15:6) Jesus said, “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”—vs. 7

The second parable concerned a lost piece of silver. Although she had ten other pieces of silver, the woman who had lost the one piece, searched diligently in her home until she located the lost coin. She too called her friends and neighbors, saying “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.”—vs. 9

The third parable is called the parable of the—prodigal’ son, and its lesson is based upon a man who had two sons. The younger wanted his father to give him his portion of the family money so he could leave home and seek his fortune while his older brother stayed at home and served their father. The father granted his request. He went “into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” (vs. 14) When he had spent all, he began to be in want. So he was hired by a farmer who raised swine, and he worked in the fields feeding the pigs. He was reduced nearly to starvation—to the point that he ate whatever the pigs left behind of the husks. He said, I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.”—vss. 13-19

As he returned home, his father saw him afar off, and ran to meet him, embracing him and kissing him. Although the son confessed his unworthiness and his repentance, his father ordered the servants to give him apparel befitting the son of a wealthy man, and to prepare a celebration, because “This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”—vss. 20-24

The Pharisees may, or may not, have recognized themselves in this parable as the elder son who stayed home to serve his father, and who thought they were righteous and needed not to be saved. But the attitude he had when his brother returned and was greeted so warmly by his father was certainly similar to their attitude!

He said: “Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gayest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends!” Jesus knew that they had murmured at the witness he had been giving to the publicans and sinners—and that they were grieved at his going to their homes and eating at their tables. Jesus had never honored the scribes or the Pharisees in this way. In fact, he spoke scathing denunciations of their handling of religious affairs in Israel. See the entire 23rd chapter of Matthew.

All three of these parables teach the main lesson of the salvation of mankind from sin and death—the recovery of that which was lost. Through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, all mankind will receive an opportunity to be restored to perfection. In the case of each parable, great rejoicing was the result of the recovery. Likewise, there shall be great joy in heaven and on earth when all mankind have repented their sins and been converted to righteous living and to honoring and praising their Heavenly Father for his good gifts.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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