Read the parables in Luke 15 several times, letting the stories impact you.
As stated in Lesson 3 on Parables,
Parables are “metaphor” in the sense that Jesus begins with a familiar image from the daily life of his listeners, and surprises us with a new perspective on life, values and relationships as they are and will be in God’s Kingdom. Parables are meant to turn our thinking inside out and upside down, pulling us from our comfortable, taken-for-granted worldview of religious faith into God’s Kingdom that demands radical relationships, obedience, and love.
- Infer who may have been present as Jesus is sharing these stories, according to verse 1. How does this impact the radical meaning for the original groups of listeners? (Note that whether Luke grouped these stories by theme for the readers, or whether they were all told in one setting, the stories yield similar conclusions.)
- Notice the 3 responses in the 3 parables to finding the lost. What are the repeated words and actions.
- The teachers of the law and the Pharisees were always concerned about maintaining purity and holiness. Is there anything in these stories that may have challenged common religious values?
- How would the story of the lost son be changed if it ended with the feast and did not mention the second son?
- Consider how you might tell a story today about finding something lost.
- “Don´t forget the party“, as reminds Dr. Mary H. Schertz, Professor of New Testament at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and Dr. Paul Keim, Professor of Bible and Religion at Goshen College.
- How do you host parties to rejoice?
- How does your congregation live and act in welcoming openness to the “other”; the persons who may be considered less holy, or lost or somehow not measuring up to the cultural norms of holiness and properness?