Parables Of The Lost
The English word parable originated from the Greek word, pronounced par-ab-oh-lay, which means placing side by side, as a comparison. The Christ often used parables, sometimes to enhance the light of what He was saying, but also sometimes to conceal, for the time being, His teaching i.e.
"13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given" (Matthew 13:10-11 KJV)
"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it"
No one is "lost," or "saved," yet (see When Will You Be Judged?; also Could Christ Return Tonight?). In most cases, for now, someone who is "lost" is merely used as an incentive to go and find them, so that they may find themselves.
The parable of the lost sheep reveals how not only do The Lord's people recognize The Shepherd's Voice, He also recognizes their voice, through prayer.
"15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose 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 neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth [see Go Ahead, Make God's Day], more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Luke 15:1-7 KJV)
The parable of the lost coin applies the same principle as the parable of the lost sheep. People only search for what they want to find.
"15:8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." (Luke 15:8-10 KJV)
Among the Parables Of Jesus Christ, that of the "lost son," or as it has been called, the "prodigal son" (prodigal means profligate or wasteful), is one of the best known. It involves a righteous and obedient firstborn son, a sinful younger brother who learns his lessons the hard way, and a father who forgives and takes back the sinner after he repents. It's a situation that has played itself out countless times in many families over the ages.
"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 goods 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 wasted his substance with riotous living. 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen 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 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father.
But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had 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, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be 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 one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
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 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.
15:29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 15:30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
15:32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." (Luke 15:11-32 KJV)
Fact Finder: To whom were the twelve apostles sent to "find"?
See To The Lost Sheep of Israel