What is a parable? A parable is a fictitious or made up story designed to teach a lesson through comparison. When you hear the story, you can relate it to your own life. It is like an illustration for the points in a sermon. It conveys its message of truth through analogy, through comparison or contrast.
Questions for this week:
- Read Luke 15:1-10. What audiences are being addresses by Jesus in these two parables? Why does knowing the original audience play an important role in our understanding of this parable today? What “audiences” would you identify today that would correlate to the ones addressed 2,000 years ago?
Jesus speaks of the rejoicing that takes place when one person repents. What does repentance mean? What does the response to repentance being that of rejoicing tell us about who God is? Is there something in your relationship to God that you sense He’s calling you to repentance today?
- In light of God’s heart of pursuing the one who has gone astray, how can you live in grateful response to this truth today? Do you believe that God is in fact pursuing you?
- Discuss times when you thought you lost something important. Whether it was a critical essay back in college, your photos when a computer crashed, tax forms, an earring…whatever it was, how did it disrupt your calm? Discuss how you might identify with the celebration of the shepherd and the woman with the coin.
- In Luke 15:2 we see the attitudes of the Pharisees. It’s easy to paint them as the bad guys, but they were honestly trying to live a righteous life by keeping laws. It was to a fault, and they were wrong, but they felt associating with sinners to be against God’s will. Jesus showed them another way, of course. How have you behaved like the Pharisees in Luke 15:2 in the past? Have you encountered people who have done terrible things? Crimes? Betrayals? Have you “eaten with them” or shown them the love of Christ through compassion and respect? What stops you? Discuss why it would be difficult to invite a criminal into your home. A homeless person. A person with mental health issues. Discuss with the group what “sinners” you could strive to reach out to.
- How much spare time do you have? Do you have time to learn a language? Write a book? Start a new hobby? Does God suffer from the same limits to his attention and patience? Were you surprised at the revelation in Luke 15:10? Do you believe it? How do you feel that the angels wait for us to repent and celebrate when we do? How does it help to know you have a cheering section in heaven?