June 3, 2007
Luke 15; 17
Luke 15 contains 3 related parables. As you read them ask yourself: How are they the same? How are they different?
Lost Sheep: (v. 1-7) 1%
v. 1: Why is Jesus eating with the publicans & sinners? Look back in the previous chapter at the last verse: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Who is now hearing Jesus?
v. 2-6: Why does Jesus use the shepherd analogy so often? How would the Pharisees & scribes feel about being called a shepherd? Note the JST correction in v. 4, showing the other sheep are NOT in the wilderness. Why is the lost sheep in the wilderness? What does the wilderness represent? Note in v. 5 it’s “when he hath found it,” not “if he finds it.” How sure is the Lord of our finding lost sheep when we search for them? Would you really throw a party with all your friends and neighbors after finding one lost sheep out of 100? What’s the point of this party?
v. 7: Does God love sinner more than the righteous? Why is the joy so much more over sinners that righteous people?
Lost Coin: (v. 8-10) 10%
v. 8: How did the coin get lost? Why did she need to light a candle? Why is she sweeping? Is it significant that the coin is still “in the house?” Note that she works until she FINDS IT. Again, never giving up.
v. 9: She finds the coin! Another big party! When did you last throw a party after finding money you’d lost?
Prodigal Son: (v. 11-32) 50%
I have had an extremely busy week which has made my note preparation very tardy. Sorry. For this reason, I’ve COPIED Jim F.’s notes from his Feast Upon the Word blog post for this lesson related to the following verses:
Verse 11: What do you make of the fact that Jesus begins this story telling us that it is about two sons? What does that suggest about the name we usually give it, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”? Does our name, perhaps, change the meaning of the story?
Verse 12: What is the young man asking for? Under inheritance practices of the time, how much of his father’s estate would the younger son receive? In response to the son’s request, the father gives both of the sons their inheritance? What does this mean for the father? The word translated “riotous living” is also used in Ephesians 5:18 (“excess”), Titus 1:6 (“riot”), and 1 Peter 4:4 (“riot”). How is the second son spending his money?
Verses 14-16: What does it mean to say that the second son joined himself to a citizen of the country where he was? How would the Pharisees have responded to the idea that this young man has taken the job of feeding swine? Does verse 16 say that he wanted to eat the carob husks that they fed pigs, but no one would let him? Or does it say that he wanted to eat the husks because no one would give him anything else?
Verses 17-19: “Came to himself” is a literal translation. What does it mean to come to oneself? What does it mean to be away from oneself? Have you ever been away from yourself? How did you come back? What does the son remember about how his father treats hired servants? What does that tell us about the father? Why does the son rehearse what he is going to say to his father? How has he sinned against heaven? How has he sinned before (“in the presence of”) his father?
Verses 20-24: How could the father have seen his son while the son was still a great way off? What does this suggest about what the father has been doing? How long has the father been waiting for the son to return? The word translated “compassion” could also have been translated “pity.” How does the father respond to seeing his son return? Why doesn’t the son finish the little speech that he has prepared for his father? Does the father treat the returned son as he would a hired servant? How does he explain his joy in verse 24? How does that answer the Pharisees’ murmuring? Is that explanation also a reference to Jesus’ coming death and resurrection? Is there any sense in which Jesus has become a prodigal son? Who would Jesus have expected the prodigal son to represent in the Pharisees’ understanding?
Verses 25-27: We have here the second half of the story, about the second son. Whom would Jesus have expected the Pharisees to understand the second son to represent? Why does the second son call a servant to find out what his going on in the house rather than go in and find out for himself? Who was the owner of the house?
Verse 28: Why is the second son angry? Why won’t he go into the house? How does the father deal with the son’s anger?
Verses 29-30: Is it true that the father has not given the older son anything? Do you think it is true that the older son has never transgressed one of his father’s commandments? Is it likely that he has had these feelings about his brother before? If he has, would that have violated his father’s commandments? The older brother says that the younger one has used up the father’s money “with harlots.” Does he know that?
Verses 31-32: When the father says “all that I have is thine,” of what is he reminding the older son? Compare verse 32 to verse 24. Why does Jesus have the father repeat this? How does this parable answer the Pharisees’ murmuring differently than did the previous two?
Verses 1-10: What gives the sayings in these verses unity? In verse 5 the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. The request of the apostles, “Increase our faith,” is not a request for a gift of faith, but a request to increase the depth of their faith. How do you think that what he says in verses 6-10 is a response to that request?
v. 6: sycamine tree is also translated as a “black mulberry tree” in the NIV. A black mulberry tree is a deciduous fruit tree that grows about 20 ft (6 m) tall and has black juicy berries. This tree has an extensive root system, so to pull it up would be a major operation.
Healing of 10 Lepers: 1%Verses 11-19: Why would Luke relate the story of the 10 lepers right after this exchange with the apostles?
Is this story related to the parable in verses 7-10? In v. 19 Jesus says, “thy faith hath made thee whole.” Is this an answer to the apostles’ question back in v. 5? If so, what is required for this faith to develop? How is it relevant that the leper who gave thanks was a Samaritan? In v. 18: Jesus’ point in calling the man a foreigner (stranger) is that none of the other nine, who were presumably Israelites, responded with gratitude. Only the “outsiders” were listening and responding.
Verses 20-37: Why would the Pharisees have asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come? What do you think they thought would bring that kingdom? What does Jesus mean when he says that the kingdom doesn’t come by observation? What does it mean to say that the kingdom is within us? How does that answer the Pharisees’ question? Some have translated the Greek phrase as the King James translators did: “within you.” Others have translated the phrase as “in your midst” and others have translated it “within your grasp.” Joseph Smith translated it “has alread come unto you.” How does the meaning of each differ?
How are the various things that Jesus says in verses 24-26 unified? Do they have a common theme?