Luke 15

Listen to Luke 15

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

1 Now 1the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and the scribes 2grumbled, saying, 3"This man receives sinners and 4eats with them."
3 So he told them this parable:
4 5"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, 6if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine 7in the open country, and 8go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
5 And when he has found it, 9he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for 10I have found my sheep that was lost.'
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who 11repents than over ninety-nine 12righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.'
10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before 13the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 And he said, "There was a man who had two sons.
12 And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me 14the share of property that is coming to me.' And he divided 15his property between them.
13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in 16reckless living.
14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.
15 So he went and hired himself out to[b] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
16 And he 17was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 "But 18when he 19came 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, 20I have sinned against 21heaven and before you.
19 22I 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 23ran and 24embraced him and 25kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 26I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'[c]
22 But the father said to his servants,[d]'Bring quickly 27the best robe, and put it on him, and put 28a ring on his hand, and 29shoes on his feet.
23 And bring 30the fattened calf and kill it, and 31let us eat and celebrate.
24 For this my son 32was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate.
25 "Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.'
28 But he 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 33celebrate with my friends.
30 But when this son of yours came, 34who has devoured 35your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!'
31 And he said to him, 'Son, 36you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
32 It was fitting 37to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother 38was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"

Images for Luke 15

Luke 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

Parables of the lost sheep, and the piece of silver. (1-10) The prodigal son, his wickedness and distress. (11-16) His repentance and pardon. (17-24) The elder brother offended. (25-32)

Verses 1-10 The parable of the lost sheep is very applicable to the great work of man's redemption. The lost sheep represents the sinner as departed from God, and exposed to certain ruin if not brought back to him, yet not desirous to return. Christ is earnest in bringing sinners home. In the parable of the lost piece of silver, that which is lost, is one piece, of small value compared with the rest. Yet the woman seeks diligently till she finds it. This represents the various means and methods God makes use of to bring lost souls home to himself, and the Saviour's joy on their return to him. How careful then should we be that our repentance is unto salvation!

Verses 11-16 The parable of the prodigal son shows the nature of repentance, and the Lord's readiness to welcome and bless all who return to him. It fully sets forth the riches of gospel grace; and it has been, and will be, while the world stands, of unspeakable use to poor sinners, to direct and to encourage them in repenting and returning to God. It is bad, and the beginning of worse, when men look upon God's gifts as debts due to them. The great folly of sinners, and that which ruins them, is, being content in their life-time to receive their good things. Our first parents ruined themselves and all their race, by a foolish ambition to be independent, and this is at the bottom of sinners' persisting in their sin. We may all discern some features of our own characters in that of the prodigal son. A sinful state is of departure and distance from God. A sinful state is a spending state: wilful sinners misemploy their thoughts and the powers of their souls, mispend their time and all their opportunities. A sinful state is a wanting state. Sinners want necessaries for their souls; they have neither food nor raiment for them, nor any provision for hereafter. A sinful state is a vile, slavish state. The business of the devil's servants is to make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, and that is no better than feeding swine. A sinful state is a state constant discontent. The wealth of the world and the pleasures of the senses will not even satisfy our bodies; but what are they to precious souls! A sinful state is a state which cannot look for relief from any creature. In vain do we cry to the world and to the flesh; they have that which will poison a soul, but have nothing to give which will feed and nourish it. A sinful state is a state of death. A sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, destitute of spiritual life. A sinful state is a lost state. Souls that are separated from God, if his mercy prevent not, will soon be lost for ever. The prodigal's wretched state, only faintly shadows forth the awful ruin of man by sin. Yet how few are sensible of their own state and character!

Verses 17-24 Having viewed the prodigal in his abject state of misery, we are next to consider his recovery from it. This begins by his coming to himself. That is a turning point in the sinner's conversion. The Lord opens his eyes, and convinces him of sin; then he views himself and every object, in a different light from what he did before. Thus the convinced sinner perceives that the meanest servant of God is happier than he is. To look unto God as a Father, and our Father, will be of great use in our repentance and return to him. The prodigal arose, nor stopped till he reached his home. Thus the repenting sinner resolutely quits the bondage of Satan and his lusts, and returns to God by prayer, notwithstanding fears and discouragements. The Lord meets him with unexpected tokens of his forgiving love. Again; the reception of the humbled sinner is like that of the prodigal. He is clothed in the robe of the Redeemer's righteousness, made partaker of the Spirit of adoption, prepared by peace of conscience and gospel grace to walk in the ways of holiness, and feasted with Divine consolations. Principles of grace and holiness are wrought in him, to do, as well as to will.

Verses 25-32 In the latter part of this parable we have the character of the Pharisees, though not of them alone. It sets forth the kindness of the Lord, and the proud manner in which his gracious kindness is often received. The Jews, in general, showed the same spirit towards the converted Gentiles; and numbers in every age object to the gospel and its preachers, on the same ground. What must that temper be, which stirs up a man to despise and abhor those for whom the Saviour shed his precious blood, who are objects of the Father's choice, and temples of the Holy Ghost! This springs from pride, self-preference, and ignorance of a man's own heart. The mercy and grace of our God in Christ, shine almost as bright in his tender and gentle bearing with peevish saints, as his receiving prodigal sinners upon their repentance. It is the unspeakable happiness of all the children of God, who keep close to their Father's house, that they are, and shall be ever with him. Happy will it be for those who thankfully accept Christ's invitation.

Cross References 38

  • 1. See Matthew 11:19
  • 2. Luke 19:7; [Ex. 16:2, 7, 8; Numbers 14:2; Joshua 9:18]
  • 3. [Luke 7:39]
  • 4. Luke 5:30; Matthew 9:11; Matthew 11:19; Mark 2:16; [Acts 11:3; 1 Corinthians 5:11; Galatians 2:12]
  • 5. For ver. 4-7, [Matthew 18:12-14]
  • 6. Ezekiel 34:6; [1 Peter 2:25]
  • 7. [Exodus 3:1; 1 Samuel 17:28]
  • 8. Ezek. 34:4, 11, 12, 16; [Luke 19:10]
  • 9. [Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 49:22; Isaiah 60:4; Isaiah 66:12]
  • 10. 1 Peter 2:25
  • 11. ver. 10; See Luke 5:32
  • 12. [Luke 5:32; Matthew 9:13]
  • 13. See Luke 12:8
  • 14. Deuteronomy 21:17
  • 15. ver. 30; Mark 12:44
  • 16. [Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4]
  • 17. [Luke 16:21]
  • 18. [1 Kings 8:47]
  • 19. [Acts 12:11]
  • 20. [Exodus 10:16]
  • 21. Matthew 21:25; John 3:27
  • 22. [Luke 7:6, 7]
  • 23. [James 4:8]
  • 24. Genesis 33:4; Acts 20:37
  • 25. 2 Samuel 14:33
  • 26. [See ver. 19 above]
  • 27. Zechariah 3:3-5
  • 28. Genesis 41:42; Esther 3:10; Esther 8:2
  • 29. Ezekiel 16:10
  • 30. [1 Samuel 28:24]
  • 31. [Luke 12:19]
  • 32. ver. 32; [Romans 11:15; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13; Revelation 3:1]
  • 33. ver. 23
  • 34. Proverbs 29:3
  • 35. ver. 12
  • 36. John 8:35
  • 37. [See ver. 29 above]
  • 38. ver. 24

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Greek ten drachmas; a drachma was a Greek coin approximately equal in value to a Roman denarius, worth about a day's wage for a laborer
  • [b]. Greek joined himself to
  • [c]. Some manuscripts add treat me as one of your hired servants
  • [d]. Greek bondservants

Luke 15 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.