PART V: THE LOST FOUND
David Coote, President of International Bible College,
San Antonio, gives these three outlines of the Lost Found
THE LOST SILVER
Did Not Know It Was Lost
Did Not Know the Way Back
THE LOST SHEEP
Knew It Was Lost
Did Not Know the Way Back
THE LOST SON
Knew He Was Lost
Knew the Way Back
There is an obvious progression of the self-consciousness of
being lost and how to return to God in the three parables.
The Holy Spirit takes us through these three stages on our
journey to Christ.
The Pharisees and the scribes (teachers of the Law)
criticized Jesus for associating with tax collectors and
"sinners" (Luke 15:1-2). These strict religious leaders
looked forward to the destruction of sinners. Their attitude
of hate was wrong. [William Barclay, DAILY BIBLE STUDY
SERIES, LUKE (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), pp. 206
ff.]. This criticism of Jesus precipitated Jesus' three
parables of finding the lost. (Trench, NOTES ON THE PARABLES
OF OUR LORD, p. 133).
The Lost Sheep Found is recorded in Matthew 18:12-14 and
"What do you think? if a man owns aThe Story
hundred sheep, and one of them wanders
away, will he not leave the ninety-nine
on the hills and go to look for the one
that wandered off? And if he finds it, I
tell you the truth, he is happier about
that one sheep than about the ninety-nine
that did not wander off. In the same way
your Father in heaven is not willing that
any of these little ones should be lost.
(Matthew 18:12-14, New International
Then Jesus told them this parable:
"Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep
and loses one of them. Does he not leave
the ninety-nine in the open country and
go after the lost sheep until he finds
it? And when he finds it, he joyfully
puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
Then he calls his friends and neighbors
together and says, `Rejoice with me; I
have found my lost sheep.' I tell you
that in the same way there will be more
rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who
repents than over ninety-nine righteous
persons who do not need to repent. (Luke
15:3-7, New International Version).
Matthew's account is a little different since it was
given on a different occasion. Jesus' disciples asked him,
"Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew
18:1, New International Version). Jesus, sensing their
pride, used a little child as an object lesson to teach them
humility. He then warns others not to offend a new convert.
Next, he mentions that their guardian angels have direct
communication with the Father--another warning not to cause a
young convert to stumble. Jesus then tells the parable of
the Lost Sheep Found.
Luke's account was given when the Pharisees and the
teachers of the Law criticized Jesus for fellowshipping with
tax collectors and "sinners." Earle comments on the word
"Sinner" (vv. 1-2) does not necessarily mean
wicked men. The Pharisees applied this label to
any who were careless about observing all the
meticulous and multitudinous regulations of the
"traditions of the elders" concerning ceremonial
cleanness. Actually it was almost impossible for
the common working man to keep all these rules. So
he was considered unclean, a "sinner." [Ralph G.
Turnbull, gen. ed., PROCLAIMING THE NEW TESTAMENT
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1961), THE
GOSPEL OF LUKE, by Ralph Earle, ThD, p. 68].
Jesus then presents the parable:
"Suppose you have a hundred sheep and one gets
lost. Because you are concerned about the safety
of the lost sheep, you will leave the flock, search
for the sheep until you find it, and carry it back
to safety. You will share your joy with your
friends and neighbors. Likewise, my Father and his
heavenly host will rejoice more over one sinner who
repents than over ninety-nine believers who are
right with him." (Paraphrased).
The Jews were a shepherd people who understood the story
well. Jesus told this parable to show how the Father feels
about those who have strayed from him spiritually. The story
evoked the compassion that a shepherd people would have for a
straying sheep. Just as a shepherd loves his sheep and has
an emotional attachment to them, so our Heavenly Father
has an infinitely greater love for the sinner.
Clarke offers these firsthand comments:
No creature strays more easily than a sheep; none
is more heedless; and none so incapable of finding
its way back to the flock, when once gone astray.
It will bleat for the flock, and still run on in an
opposite direction to the place where the flock is;
this I have often noticed. No creature is more
defenseless than a sheep, and more exposed to be
devoured by dogs and wild beasts. Even the fowls
of the air seek its destruction. I have known
ravens often attempt to destroy lambs by picking
out their eyes, in which, when they have succeeded,
as the creature does not see whither it is going,
it soon falls an easy prey to its destroyer.
(Clarke, COMMENTARY ON THE HOLY BIBLE, p. 878).
The oriental (Jewish) shepherd loves his sheep to the
extent that he is willing to risk his own life in
beast-infested mountains at night to seek a single sheep.
(Earle, BEACON BIBLE COMMENTARY, LUKE, p. 171). Note that
Jesus emphasized the shepherd's concern in that he searched
for [HIS OWN] lost sheep UNTIL he found it. The shepherd
does not PUNISH the sheep for straying, or "harshly DRIVE it
back into the fold" but COMFORTS the sheep by physical touch.
He places his sheep on his own shoulders and carries the
sheep back home. This is a beautiful story of the goodness
and saving grace of our Lord. (Trench, NOTES ON THE PARABLES
OF OUR LORD, p. 135).
Our Heavenly Father and his heavenly host rejoice when a
sinner has been saved!
For God did not send his son into the
world to condemn the world, but to save
the world through him. (John 3:17, New
GOD LOVES THE SINNER.
We need to be very careful not to become a stumbling
stone for the lost. Rather, we need to become a stepping
stone for the lost to reach Christ.
We do this by loving the lost as Christ does. Our
Heavenly Father loves the lost so much that he gave his most
valuable treasure--his Son--to die for them. Jesus loves the
lost so much that he willingly died for them. If we partake
of the love nature of God, how can we hate? And weren't we
all lost sinners at one time? (And the best of us still miss the mark