The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The literary context of Luke is that the book of Luke is one of four Gospels in the New Testament. Luke is the longest of the four gospels, 1/3 is influenced by Mark, 1/4 is unique, and 230 verses are influenced by Q. Luke, in particular, was written for the gentile audience and is a composition of parables for Jesus’ followers as well as biblical scholars to learn and understand more about those who recounted Jesus on Earth. Historically, Luke was written between 80 and 90 CE, and recounts the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In a commentary on the Book of Luke by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, the author comments with the goal of showing how to read the book of Luke. This quote is Fitzmyer’s take on the three parables found in verse 15: “The three parables of chapter 15, that of the lost sheep, of the lost coin, and of the lost or prodigal son, are so distinctive of the Lucan portrait of Jesus that this part of his account has been called the heart of the Third Gospel”(Fitzmyer 1071). The parables play an integral role in the understanding of Jesus’ word and though it was written years ago, contemporary readers can still read and relate to the message of the parables. The parable of the Lost Sheep is reflective of how today’s Christians treat one another and how they hold themselves accountable in their relationship with Jesus.
“Jesus is the Shepherd Who Rescues the Lamb.” La Vista Church of Christ. 2003. 5 December 2016. http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/Standard%20Bible%20Story%20Readers,%20Book%20One/target70.html.
“New Testament: Luke.” Enterthebible.com. Last modified 2016. https://www.enterthebible.org/newtestament.aspx?rid=4.
Ray C. Stedman. “God and the Unthinking.” Authentic Christianity. Last modified 1995. http://www.raystedman.org/thematic-studies/treasures-of-the-parables/god-and-the-unthinking.
“William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible.” Studylight.org. Last modified 2016. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/luke-15.html.
Matt Fehr, Katie Murney, Sam Skoler