God has a particular care over backsliding sinners (Israel in this case) and follows them with the calls of His Word and the strivings of the Holy Spirit until at length they are wrought upon to return. Their repentance and conversion are a matter of joy and rejoicing among the angels of heaven.
1 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,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
8 ¶ Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
11 ¶ And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Luke 15:1-7 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 15:8-13 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 15:14-19 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 15:20-24 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 15:25-32 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 15:1-10 – Seeking and Finding the Lost
They that have left the fold in which they were nurtured in early life, and have gone over bleak mountains and through tangled brakes, find themselves in this exquisite picture. But the Lord is on their track. He cannot abide happily with the rest, while one sheep is liable to be torn by beasts of prey or caught away by eagles. He goes after it till He finds it. Don’t you think, mother, that the Lord loves that child of yours, now far away, as much as you do? Cannot you trust Him to seek until He finds? Then He will ask you to rejoice with Him. Jesus not only receiveth sinners, but seeketh them. Those who have always lived an outwardly correct life and who do not think themselves in need of repentance are the ninety and nine.
Some have the King’s stamp on them, but have rolled away into the dark corner amid dust and shavings. Oh, that we were all more willing to go down on our knees to sweep the floor to find the lost! The nine links of a necklace are useless if the tenth is missing. Christ cannot be satisfied until the lost coin is found. —Through the Bible Day by Day
THE LOST SHEEP.
No name by which the Savior is known brings Him into such close and tender relations with His people as that
of Shepherd. “I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine” (John 10:14). As members of the fold of Christ we are guaranteed His loving care and solicitous protection. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold” (John 10:16). By that He means that His shepherding care extends over the entire world, and no bruised or fallen lamb exposed to the rocks and hardships of the wilderness, can ever get beyond the Shepherd’s patient search. No winds can be too harsh, no storms too angry, no mountain steeps too treacherous to defeat his patient will to reclaim the lost. Though by ignorance we fall into error and violate his commands, though by willfulness we transgress His law and traverse the road of disobedience, though the lamp of our innocence be shattered and the light of our hope fades away in desolation and despair, the Shepherd comes to us and calls, “My Son, give me thine heart” (Proverbs 23:26).
Luke 15:10 – You remember the occasion when the Lord met with thee. O, little didst thou think what a commotion was in heaven. If the queen had ordered out all her soldiers, the angels of heaven would not have stopped to notice them. If all the princes of earth had marched through the streets, with all their jewelry, and robes, and crowns, and all their regalia, their chariots, and their horsemen; if the pomp of ancient monarchs had risen from the tomb; if all the mighty of Babylon, and Tyre, and Greece had been concentrated in one great parade; yet not an angel would have stopped in his course to smile at these poor, tawdry things; but over you, the vilest of the vile, the poorest of the poor, over you angelic wings were hovering, and concerning you it was said on earth and sung in heaven, “Hallelujah, for a child is born to God today!” (Spurgeon)
Luke 15:11-24 – The Son Who “Came to Himself” and to His Father
The pearl of parables! Too often we desire God’s gifts apart from Himself. The far country is not far in actual distance, but in the alienation of the heart. You may be living in a pious home and yet be in the far country. Sin is waste. The far country is always swept by famine, because our soul was made for God and cannot live on husks. Neither things nor people can really appease our awful hunger if we are away from God.
Sin is temporary madness. The first step to God is to come to ourselves. The prodigal’s real nature stood face to face with the ruin and havoc of his sin. Never, for a moment, had the Father ceased to love and yearn. There was an instant response to the slightest indication of repentance. Love was quicker than words, to understand what the prodigal meant. The confession was therefore cut short. Note the profuse welcome, meeting every need—the robe of righteousness, the ring of reconciliation, the kiss of love, the shoes of a holy walk, the feast of fellowship. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 15:17 – The rabbis report, that, when Joseph gathered much corn in Egypt, he threw the chaff into the Nile, that, flowing to the neighboring cities and nations more remote, they might know what abundance was laid up for them. So God hath thrown some husks to us in this world, that, tasting the sweetness thereof, we might aspire to His bounty above. If there be such glory in God’s footstool, what will there be in His throne? If He give us so much in the land of our pilgrimage, what will He not give us in our own country? if so much to His enemies, what will He not give to His friends? (Spencer)
Luke 15:25-32 – The Son Who Never Came to His Father
Notice the difference between the Father’s care for his elder son and the son’s own estimate of his position, and you will see how easily you may miss the holy possibilities of your own life, if you allow yourself to be blinded by jealousy!
Ever with me; life was meant to be irradiated and blessed by the constant sense of God’s nearness. We were meant to live in God and God in us. All that I have is thine; such is our wealthy condition, in the purpose of God, that all His divine resources, stored in Jesus, await the appropriation of our faith.
But if we fail to recognize our brother in the penitent thy son; if we shut ourselves out of the joy, because of some fancied slight, or of pharisaic pride, we miss our own truest blessedness. But God entreats us to come into it. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 15:28—He would not go in.
The elder brother is the dark contrast which heightens the glowing picture of the repentant prodigal; as the gargoyle does the beauty of the angel faces on the cathedral font.
When we look at sin, not in its theological aspects, but in its everyday clothes, we find that it divides itself into two kinds. We find that there are sins of the body and sins of the disposition; or, more narrowly, sins of the passions, including all forms of lust and selfishness, and sins of the temper. The prodigal is the instance in the New Testament of sins of passion—the elder brother of sins of temper. Now we might be disposed to think that the prodigal is the worse sinner of these two; but it is at least worthy of remark that as the story ends, we see him found, forgiven, restored; the elder brother is still outside the house, and an absentee from the feast. Does Christ mean that the ill-tempered murmuring of the Pharisee is more hopeless than the passion of the publican and sinner? We must not press the thought too far; but we may at least ask whether we are harbouring, beneath a very respect. able, moral exterior, the spirit of the elder brother, who plods daily to work, and is accounted a paragon of filial dutifulness, but is left without the door.
One has made a careful analysis of the ingredients that went to make up that one spiteful speech; they come out thus: jealousy, anger, pride, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, sulkiness, touchiness, doggedness. “His speech, like the bubble escaping to the surface of the pool, betrays the rottenness beneath.” Let us carefully read our hearts, lest there be any trace of this spirit in ourselves, when others are pressing into the kingdom with joy. —Our Daily Homily