Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

Some Parables in Perea

Luke xii: 1, to xv: 32.

Part 2 of 2

While Jesus was teaching, many of the publicans, those who took up the taxes from the people, came to hear him; and many others who were called "sinners" by the Pharisees and the Scribes. The enemies of Jesus said:

"This man likes to have sinners come to see him, and he eats with them."

Then Jesus spoke a parable called "The Lost Sheep," to show why he was willing to talk with sinners. He said:

"What man of you, who has a hundred sheep; if one of them is lost, does not leave his ninety and nine sheep in the field, and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, glad to see his lost sheep again. And when he comes home he calls together his friends and neighbors, and says to them:

" 'Be glad with me; for I have found my sheep that was lost!'

"Even so," said Jesus, "there is joy in heaven over one sinner who has turned to God, more than over ninety and nine good men, who do not need to turn from their sins."


The shepherd goes after the lost sheep

Jesus gave to the people also the parable of "The Lost Piece of Money." He said:

"If any woman has ten pieces of silver, and loses one piece, will she not light a lamp, and sweep her house carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and her neighbors, saying:

" 'Be glad with me; for I have found the piece of silver that I had lost.'

"Even so, there is joy among the angels of God over one sinner that turns from his sins."


The lost piece of silver

Then Jesus told another parable, that one called "The Parable of the Prodigal Son." A prodigal is one who spends everything that he has, as did the young man in this parable. Jesus said, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger of his sons said to his father:

" 'Father, give to me the share that will come to me, of what you own.'

"Then the father divided all that he had between his two sons; and not many days after the younger son took his share, and went away into a far country; and there he wasted it all in wild and wicked living. And when he had spent all there arose a mighty famine of food in that country; and he began to be in want.

"And he went to work for one of the men in that land; and this man sent him into the fields to feed his hogs. And the young man was so hungry that he would have filled himself with the husks that were fed to the hogs; and no one gave anything to him. At last the young man began to think of his father's house; and he said to himself:

" 'How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, while I am dying here with hunger! I will arise, and will go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son; let me be one of your hired servants.' "

"And he rose up, to go back to his father's house. But while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him:

" 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son—'

"But before he could say any more, his father called to the servants, and said:

" 'Bring out quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called to him one of the servants, and asked what these things might be. And the servant said to him:

" 'Your brother has come; and your father has killed the fatted calf, and is having a feast, because he is at home safe and sound.'

"But the elder brother was angry, and would not go in; and his father came out and urged him. But he answered his father, and said:

" 'I have served you for these many years; and I have never disobeyed your commands; and yet you never gave me even a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this your son has come, who has wasted your living with wicked people, you killed for him the fatted calf!'

"And the father said to him:

" 'My son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. But it was fitting that we should make merry and be glad; for this your brother was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

By these parables Jesus showed that he came not to seek those who thought themselves so good that they did not need him; but those who were the sinful and the needy.


The father fell on his son's neck