Parables of the Lost

Another key type of parable Jesus uses we can refer to as the “lost” parables, for example the lost sheep … the lost coin … and the lost (aka prodigal) son.  The passionate seeking of the one lost object leads to the great moment of joy when the lost is found.  We can see that joy when the lost sheep is found.  Also, a note from the parable of the lost coin: a coin can’t try its best to be found – it’s just lost … and can’t do anything about.  So too, it is not the sinner who finds God … but the other way around.  The story of the lost son illustrates another important feature in the parables.  Here’s a story which certainly reflects the Jewish social laws of Jesus’ day, but which goes beyond to present a surprising truth.  Here it is a father acting contrary to the law.  The son has willingly and deliberately cut himself off from his father and family.  Legally he is “dead and lost” to the family.  In accepting this erring son back to his household, the father is creating a new law based on grace and love.  That’s the radical nature of God's rule: it creates the new conditions under which sinners are accepted into the Kingdom – and this is a lesson which the self-righteous - represented by the older son - must learn, as they see Jesus offering the grace of forgiveness to prostitutes and other blatant sinners!