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