Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 15:1-13

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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.

Luke 15:9

Similar to the shepherd (see note on v. 6).

Luke 15:10

An application of the parable's second part. joy. See note on v. 7.

Luke 15:12

portion of the wealth. That which the sons would have inherited. The son's request was shockingly disrespectful. It implied that he wished the father's death so he could receive his inheritance (Num. 27:8-11). The younger son loved wealth more than his father. divided. The father had every right to refuse the son's shameful request. However, he complied. As the younger son, he would have received half of the older sons' inheritance (Deut. 21:17). Perhaps less if the father had daughters in need of dowries.

Luke 15:13

gathered together. The young man converted his inheritance to cash so he could more easily spend it. far away. A sign of the son's alienation from his father and upbringing. wasted. The fortune was spent on sinful living.

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