1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean to its original audience?
3. What does this passage tell us about God?
4. What does this passage tell us about mankind?
5. What does this passage demand of me?
6. How does this passage change the way I relate to people?
7. How does this passage prompt me to pray?
Pastor Kevin observed that Jesus stated his mission in Luke 19:10 – “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” In Luke 15, Jesus uses three stories to illustrate His mission: the Lost Sheep (vv. 3-7), the Lost Coin (vv. 8-10), and the Lost Son (vv. 11-32). In each successive story there is a narrowing of proportions and parties.
8. Reread Luke 15:1, why do you think we often see sinners so easily drawn to Jesus in the Bible? What set him apart from the Pharisees and scribes? What drew you to Jesus?
9. In the opening line of the parable, Jesus makes the assumption that of course anyone would leave the 99 sheep to go find the 1 lost sheep. Do you think this is actually true of humanity? Spiritually speaking, is this true of the Church? Is 1% loss acceptable to the world? Is 1% loss acceptable to the Church?
10. Why would heaven rejoice over a repentant sinner far more than a righteous person continuing in righteousness? How does this relate to the stated mission of Jesus found in Luke 19:10?
11. Have you ever lost anything of great significance or value? How did you react when you found it? Did you, like the woman in the parable, want to tell others so they could join in your celebration?
12. We all know people whose salvation surprised us. Do you have such a person in your life? How did you react when you found out? Did you, like the woman in the parable, want to tell others so they could join in your celebration?
13. Pastor Kevin noted that Jesus is never in a hurry. He’s always ready to communicate, interact, teach, bless, celebrate, seek unity, or collaborate with others he meets along the way. Do you always find yourself in a hurry? What have you missed because you didn’t have the margin in your life to stop and linger? What causes you to hurry? What is a practical example of a way you could create opportunities for pause to see who or what God might put in your path unexpectedly?
14. In the story of the Lost Son, the older brother just didn’t understand his father’s choices. He was blind to what mattered most to his father. How is it possible to be in the Father’s house but miss the Father’s heart?
15. When the Lost Son hits rock bottom and desires to return home, under what conditions does he assume his father would take him back? How does this compare to the father’s actual response? Have you been in a situation where you expected condemnation or judgment but instead received grace and mercy?
16. In verse 28, the older brother is stubbornly angry and refuses to come in the house, let alone celebrate. When have you been stubbornly angry about the grace someone who did wrong received? Why were you so troubled by their reception of grace? What did you want them to experience instead? Why?
Pastor Kevin noted three problematic older brother mindsets and countered them with three counter-cultural Christian actions.
Wrong Mindset Counter-cultural Action
God views me through my accomplishments Find identity in Christ’s work, not my works
God owes me Make the mission the main thing
God didn’t bless me properly Serve Jesus through loving others unconditionally
17. Go through each mindset above and explain the problem each creates. Then go through the counter-cultural Christian actions and explain how each addresses the problematic mindset.
18. In all three stories, something is lost, something is found, and someone celebrates. These stories are told by Jesus in the presence of tax collectors and sinners to address the grumbling of Pharisees and scribes. How do you think the sinners reacted to hearing these stories? How do you think the religiously-focused Pharisees reacted to hearing these stories? How do you react to hearing them?
19. Who do you know that is lost and needs to be found? What might God be asking you to do to bring that person back to the Father?