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Bible Gemz 1055 - Pulling all the Threads Together (Luke 15:1-32)

June 30, 2019

And all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to Him, to hear Him. 

And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, This one receives sinners and eats with them.

And He spoke to them this parable, saying,

Suppose one of you having a hundred sheep, and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety nine in the deserted placeand go after the lost oneuntil he finds it?

And finding it, he puts iton his shoulders, rejoicing.

And coming to the house, he calls together the friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that had been lost.

I say to you that so is joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance.

Suppose a woman has ten drachmas, if she loses one drachma does not light a lamp and sweep the house, and look carefully until she finds it?

And finding it, she calls together the friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I lost.

I say to you, So there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

And He said, A certain man had two sons.

And the younger of them said to the father, Father give me that part of the property falling to me. Andhe divided the inheritance between them.

And not many days after, gathering up all things, the younger son went away to a distant country. And there he wasted his property, living dissolutely.

But having spent all his things, a severe famine came throughout that country, and he began to be in need.

And going, he was joined to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his fields to feed pigs.

And he longed to fill his stomach from the husks which the pigs ate, but no one gave to him.

But coming to himself he said, How many servants of my father have plenty of loaves, and I am perishing with famine.

Rising up, I will go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I sinned against Heaven and before you,

and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.

And rising up, he came to his father. But he yet being far away, his father saw him and was moved with pity and he ran andfell on his neck and fervently kissed him.

And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you, and no longer am I worthy to be called your son.

But the father said to his slaves, Bring out the best robe and clothe him, and give a ring for his hand and sandals for hisfeet.

And bring the fattened calf, slaughter and let us eat and rejoice;

for this son of mine was dead, and lived again, and was lost, and was found. And they began to be merry.

But the older son was in the field. And having come, as he drew near to the house, he heard music and dances.

And having called one of the children, he inquired what this may be.

And he said to him, Your brother came, and your father killed the fattened calf, because he received him back in health.

But he was angry and did not desire to go in. Then coming out, his father begged him.

But answering, he said to the father, Behold, so many years I serve you, and I have never transgressed a command of you. And you never gave a goat to me, so that I might be merry with my friends.

But when this son of yours came, the one devouring your living with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him.

But he said to him, Child, you are always with me, and all of my things are yours.

But to be merry and to rejoice was right, for this brother of yours was dead, and lived again; he was lost and hewas found.

 (Luke 15:1-32)



Well, I can now tell you that I have officially finished sifting through the pieces of the "prodigal son parable". It has only taken me 25 gemz, from 1029 to 1054. If you haven't read all of them, then I suggest you go back and pick up on the ones you haven't read yet. Why? Because this is like a jigsaw puzzle. We all know if you haven't got all the pieces, then you won't be able to finish the puzzle. Likewise, with "this parable". Now we have all the pieces. Well, that is not actually true, there are some chiastic structures or patterns in this parable as well, but I haven't added those. They are a little complicated and will only muddy the waters. 


Our task now is to put the pieces together, pull all the threads together. I have told you a number of times to ask the question, why is the parable not finished? Why did Jesus leave out the obvious closing, "I say to you that there is joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance."? Or at least the modified version, "So there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Why are these missing when the obvious place for them to be is at the end of the lost son segment? That is what the crowd are waiting for. It is obvious that is what He is supposed to say next. But He doesn’t say it. Why?


Why is the obvious connection with [kaleo] and the lost son segment missing? In the lost sheep segment, we have, "He calls together the friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that had been lost."In the lost coin segment we have, "She calls together the friends and neighbors, saying . . . " But there is no repetition of this in the parable of the lost son. Why not? Instead, we have multiple uses of the word [kaleo] –why?


And how does this all fit together with the overall purpose? Remember how it all started – with the Pharisees and Scribes murmuring about him receiving sinners and tax collectors. Mmm, how does that all fit?


I am delighted that this exposé on the "prodigal son" parable has prompted so much discussion or thought. It is the topic of discussion around several family dinner tables or family altars. It has become food for thought and discussion at several bible colleges and seems to generate a good degree of response from many of you individually to me. I haven't been able to work out why you don't all comment on the appropriate section on the website but I conclude maybe it is because it is safer to comment personally than to write the comment publicly on the website. Pity, but I understand. Maybe it is like the comments Kenny said about me in his sermon, that he was afraid of Ian, cos he seemed to have it all together. Nah, far from it. 


Here is some more input from my ex-Bible College Principal, David Stewart:

The comparisons of the Jacob/Esau story with the two sons story are quite convincing, and I had never thought of that comparison, though I always emphasized that the triple parable, leading up to the climax in the last one was a parable for the Pharisees. However I do have some questions: Your comparison 26 seems a little doubtful in the case of Esau. [26. Both older brothers have not yet repented. Their grievance / bitterness is too strong" from Gemz 1043.]


Yes, it does seem that Jacob does not trust Esau, but all of Esau's words show nothing of his earlier fury, rather, like what Rebekah said, that after "a few days" [actually 20 years] Esau will turn away his fury, and forget his fury. His words and actions on meeting Jacob support this, though the only mention of further reunion is at the burial of their father.


The other big question I have, is that with the Jacob/Esau story, the Pharisees totally identified themselves with the younger son, where in this parable the younger rebellious son who repents, seems clearly to represent the"publicans and sinners," and the Pharisees the older son who will not accept the younger son. The similarities of the two stories are certainly striking, but at the vital heart of it is this vital change-over in interpretation.

Perhaps you will bring this out in your next Gem? David


That's right. We have not finished yet! Time for you to consider it all and work out why Jesus told the story of the prodigal in the way he did. Weight up David's comments and determine what you think. If you would like to share your findings with me I will share the significant ones in Gemz for everyone to read. What is it that some of you have been discussing? Share your thoughts with us all. 


Tomorrow I will address David's questionsabove; yes David, I will "bring it out in my next Gem". Tomorrow. 


See you back here tomorrow, same time, same place, same channel. 



Exercise daily, walk with the Lord.


Study to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the word of truth. Paul of Tarsus


The problem with doing nothing is that it's difficult to tell when you're done. Rick Godwin


Without a goal you can’t score.


Where the mind goes, the man follows. (Proverbs 23:7) Joyce Meyer



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