Luke 15

The American Standard Version

15:1 Now all the publicans and sinners were drawing near unto him to hear him.

15:2 And both the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

15:3 And he spake unto them this parable, saying,

15:4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and his neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.

15:7 I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.

15:8 Or what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it?

15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth together her friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost.

15:10 Even so, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

15:12 and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of thy substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

15:13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country; and there he wasted his substance with riotous living.

15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want.

15:15 And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

15:17 But when he came to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish here with hunger!

15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight:

15:19 I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son.

15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

15:23 and bring the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and make merry:

15:24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.

15:26 And he called to him one of the servants, and inquired what these things might be.

15:27 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.

15:28 But he was angry, and would not go in: and his father came out, and entreated him.

15:29 But he answered and said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, and I never transgressed a commandment of thine; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

15:30 but when this thy son came, who hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou killedst for him the fatted calf.

15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that is mine is thine.

15:32 But it was meet to make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Pathways Notes

Study Instructions for Each Echelon

Luke 15 is one of the most profound chapters in the New Testament, highlighting Jesus' teachings on repentance, forgiveness, and the rejoicing that follows restoration. Through three parables—the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son—Jesus illustrates the boundless mercy of God and His joy over the return of a sinner who repents. For those seeking self-help and self-control, Luke 15 offers deep insights into the nature of human failure and the transformative power of receiving and offering forgiveness. This chapter not only addresses how to manage personal guilt and alienation but also explores the renewal of relationships and the emotional healing that comes from understanding God's grace. It is a vital scripture for anyone looking to understand the emotional dynamics of repentance and the powerful, restorative love of God.

Study Instructions for Each Echelon

  • Echelon 1: Enthusiast - Learning About Repentance, Forgiveness, and Restoration

    • Read: Focus on the emotional journey depicted in the parables, especially the Prodigal Son.

    • Reflect: Consider the feelings of guilt, shame, relief, and joy experienced by the characters as they transition from loss to restoration. How do these emotions relate to your own experiences with repentance and forgiveness?

    • Apply: Identify areas in your life where you might need forgiveness or need to offer forgiveness. Reflect on how changing your response to guilt and forgiveness can transform your self-talk and emotional health.

  • Echelon 2: Explorer - Exploring Emotional Restoration and Reconciliation

    • Read: Examine the detailed emotional reactions of the characters in each parable.

    • Analyze: Look at what triggers repentance in the Prodigal Son, and the mixed reactions of other characters, like the older brother. Consider how these emotional triggers and responses can be seen in everyday relationships.

    • Reflect: Think about how understanding and practicing forgiveness can impact your emotional well-being and your relationships. How does it feel to forgive someone, and what barriers might prevent you from offering forgiveness?

  • Echelon 4: Emissary - Sharing the Joy of Repentance and Forgiveness

    • Read: Revisit the parables with a focus on the joy and celebration that follow repentance and forgiveness.

    • Teach: Prepare to share these stories with others, emphasizing the emotional and spiritual uplift that comes from reconciling with God and with others. Use your own experiences as examples to illustrate the healing power of forgiveness.

    • Engage: Facilitate discussions or workshops that help others explore these themes, guiding them through the emotional landscape of the parables to enhance their understanding and personal growth.

  • Echelon 5: Master - Deepening Understanding of Forgiveness and Repentance

    • Read: Study the parables as profound illustrations of divine love and grace.

    • Consider: Explore how these stories can be used to teach others about the depths of God’s forgiveness and the process of emotional transformation that repentance brings.

    • Lead: Develop comprehensive teaching materials or strategies that incorporate these parables to help others experience and understand the emotional and spiritual renewal that comes from true repentance and forgiveness. Discuss the broader implications for community healing and personal reconciliation.

By following these tailored instructions, participants at each echelon can engage deeply with Luke 15, gaining both personal insights and practical approaches to foster their own and others' spiritual and emotional growth.

Luke 15 Notes:
Luke 15 is a profound chapter that resonates with the theme of redemption and the joy of restoration. It unfolds through a series of parables told by Jesus, each illustrating the boundless mercy of God and His celebration over the return of a lost soul. This chapter masterfully portrays the compassionate heart of God, contrasting it with human perspectives on sin and redemption.

The chapter opens with the Pharisees and scribes expressing disdain towards Jesus for welcoming sinners and eating with them. In response, Jesus shares three parables, each deepening the understanding of God's redemptive love. The first is the Parable of the Lost Sheep, where a shepherd leaves his ninety-nine sheep to search for the one that is lost. Upon finding it, he rejoices greatly. This parable highlights the shepherd’s persistent love and the joy that accompanies the recovery of what was lost.

Following this, Jesus tells the Parable of the Lost Coin, where a woman searches diligently for a single lost coin out of ten she possesses. Her exhaustive search and the subsequent celebration upon finding the coin echo the themes of value and rejoicing that permeate the chapter.

The climax of Luke 15 is the Parable of the Prodigal Son, a story that richly details the themes of repentance and unconditional familial love. A young man demands his inheritance early, squanders it, and returns home in despair, hoping only to be treated as a servant. Instead, his father welcomes him with open arms and a celebratory feast, signifying forgiveness and restoration. The father’s reaction starkly contrasts with that of the older son, who resents the celebration, thereby illustrating different human responses to forgiveness and grace.

Each narrative in Luke 15 reinforces the message that God’s grace is astonishingly generous and that heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents. These parables collectively challenge the listener to reflect on their own understanding of forgiveness, mercy, and joy. Luke 15 does not merely invite us to rejoice in our personal redemption but also to share in the joy of others' return to grace, embracing the compassionate perspective of the divine.