Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 14:34-15:32

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Luke 14:34-35

Salt has many uses, including as a fertilizer. But, it was used as a preservative and for flavor. In the ancient world, natural salt was often mixed with other minerals, like gypsum. Over time, the salt may dissolve, leaving the impurities, and the salt could lose its effectiveness over time. When that happened it would simply be thrown away. Jesus used this example of salt to teach about the distinctiveness (saltiness) of his disciples (vv. 26-33). ears to hear, let him hear. See note on 8:8.

Jesus' Parables of Pursuing the Lost - Luke 15:1-32

This parable is made up of three stories: the caring shepherd (vv. 4-7), the searching woman (vv. 8-10), and the gracious father (vv. 11-32). All three teach many of the same things over the course a repeated cycle — something is lost (vv. 4, 8, 24), then it is found (vv. 5, 9, 24), and there is great rejoicing because of it (vv. 6, 9, 24). The parable served two purposes. First, it extended an invitation to the sinners listening (v. 1). Second, it offered a defense of Jesus's ministry to those complaining (v. 2). Jesus made clear that he had come to seek sinners (5:31; 19:10).

Luke 15:1

tax collectors. See note on 3:12. sinners. Other professions believed to be immoral by scribes and Pharisees. They were often grouped with tax collectors (5:30; 7:34; 19:7). Together, this group represented society's outcasts who were known for their wickedness. listen. This follows from the previous section (14:26-35). These people were attracted to Jesus because they understood his message (14:35). He was glad to welcome them (14:21; 19:10).

Luke 15:2

Pharisees and the scribes. See note on 5:17. grumbled. Much like ancient, unbelieving Israel (5:30; Num. 14:27; Josh. 9:18; Ps. 106:25). The Pharisees and the scribes were known for their meticulous keeping of God's Law. They would actively avoid contact with sinful people (5:29-32; 7:39; 19:7). However, their reputation was hollow (Matt. 23:27-28). Their righteousness wasn't a true righteousness that comes by faith and repentance of sin. Otherwise, they would have loved their neighbor and rejoiced to see sinners experience salvation (Ps. 71:15-16; Matt. 22:37-40).

Luke 15:3

parable. See note on 8:1.

Luke 15:4

Shepherding was a common practice in the agrarian society of Israel. The imagery of shepherding was also a common Old Testament theme for spiritual leaders over Israel (Jer. 3:15; Ezek. 34:2-10), including God (Ps. 23:1; Isa. 40:11). the lost. The recovery of the lost sheep is more important than tending the others who are safe. Unlike the neglectful shepherds of Israel, Jesus seeks after the lost (19:10; Ezek. 34:4, 11, 16).

Luke 15:5

Like the shepherd with his sheep, Jesus deals tenderly with sinners (Isa. 40:11; Matt. 11:28; 12:20).

Luke 15:6

The shepherd's celebration was a community event (v. 9). Likewise, the Pharisees and scribes (v. 2) should have joined in the celebration of sinners being saved.

Luke 15:7

An application of the first part of the parable (vv. 3-6). heaven. Another way of saying God and his angels (v. 10). ninety-nine. Jesus pointed out the irony of the situation. There would be no rejoicing over the religious leaders who didn't see the need to repent (5:31-32; 18:11-12). However, there would be much rejoicing over the worst sinner being saved.

Luke 15:8

silver coin. A drachma, perhaps about the same as a denarius, which was the day-wage for the average worker (20:24; Matt. 20:2). seek diligently. The stone or mud brick homes of the time left many homes with little light. Together with an earthen floor, finding the coin may have been hard work. Nevertheless, the coin was valuable to the woman and worth the effort.

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