Bible Stories for Adults

The Forgiving Father

Luke 15:11-32

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - The Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

Opening Prayer

    What is a parable?
      Jerome - "A shadow of truth cast before"
    Sounds like a pleasant yarn, but keeps something up its sleeve which pops up & leaves you flat
    Funk & Wagnalls
      A "true-to-life" story used to make clear a heavenly meaning
    What a parable is not:
      Proverb (Proverbs 22:6)
      Simile (Psalm 1:3-4)
      Metaphor (John 6:35)
      Allegory (John 15:1-8)
      Fable (Judges 9:8-15)

    Read an example of a short parable that sounds like a fable:
      Matthew 21:28-31a
    What truth pops up and knocks flat the self-righteous elders whom Jesus was addressing?
      Matthew 21:31b-32

    Parables must always be interpreted in the context of the lesson Jesus was trying to teach

      Used only in Matthew (17), Mark (13), Luke (18) & Hebrews (2)
        Hebrews uses for symbolic (9:9) and figuratively (11:19)
    John uses paroimia

      Translated in Septuagint as parabole
      Not used in Old Testament for fables (2K 14:9), riddles (Jdg 14:14), stories, etc.
      Used as concept describing wisdom or revelation

      Septuagint translated as Paroimiai
      Translated to Latin in the Vulgate by Jerome as Parabolai

Jesus' Parables (Matthew 13)
    What did David foretell about the Messiah's manner of speaking?
      Psalm 78:1-2
    How was this prophesy fulfilled by Jesus?
      Matthew 13:34-35
    Why did Jesus speak in parables?
      Matthew 13:10-12

    Were all of Jesus' parables stories?
      Mark 4:30-32
    Were all of Jesus' stories parables?
      Luke 10:25-37
    Between 25 and 79 of Jesus' parables are recorded in the Bible
      Depends on the definition used for parable

    What was Jesus' most common topic for comparison in a parable?
      Matthew 13:44
    Were all of Jesus' parables descriptive of God or did some describe sinful man?
      Luke 18:9-13
    Did any parables teach us how to live as God's people?
      Luke 18:1

    Did Jesus' followers immediately understand His parables?
      Matthew 13:36
    Did Jesus explain all of His parables, or were His disciples left to figure some out on their own?
      Mark 4:33-34
    Why were those who didn't follow Jesus unable to understand His parables?
      Matthew 13:13-15
    Did any of Jesus' parables hit home with those outside of His followers?
      Matthew 21:45

Who Were the Pharisees? (Matthew 23)
    Why had the people of Judah been exiled to Babylon?
      Nehemiah 9:29-30
    What did the returned exiles do to show their commitment to God's law?
      Nehemiah 9:38; 10:29
    What sect evolved that worked to make sure people didn't disobey the law, even accidentally?
      Acts 26:5

    How did Jesus respond to the Pharisees' complaint that He didn't follow their rules?
      Mark 7:5-8
    What did Jesus say about the Pharisees' efforts to get people to heaven?
      Matthew 23:4, 13
    How did Jesus graphically point out how the Pharisees' detailed rules missed the main purpose?
      Matthew 23:24
    For Home Study: Read Matthew 23 for further understanding of how Pharisees were misdirected

The Lost (Luke 15:1-7)
    What major Pharisee rule did Jesus break that led to the parables in Luke 15?
      Luke 15:1-2
    Why was this so bad in the eyes of the Pharisees?
      Psalm 1:1
    What had the Pharisees missed about God's relationship with sinners?
      Ezekiel 18:23

    How did Jesus reply to the Pharisees' rebuke of His association with sinners?
      Luke 15:3-6
    What does a lost sheep have to do with a sinner?
      Luke 15:7
    Would a studied Pharisee recognize this connection?
      Ezekiel 34:11-12

The Search (Luke 15:8-10)
    Did Jesus feel that the one parable was enough to get the Pharisees to understand?
      Luke 15:8-9
    NOTES: It would take months for a Palestinian woman to save ten drachmas
      The coins were most likely her dowry and were worn on a string as a necklace
      How intently would she look and how much would she rejoice upon finding it?
    What does searching for a lost coin have to do with searching for lost sinners?
      Luke 15:10

The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-19)
    Were these two parables enough for the Pharisees to see God's desire to restore the lost sinner?
      Luke 15:11-12
    What did the younger son get as his share of the estate?
      Deuteronomy 21:17
    How responsible was the son with his inheritance?
      Luke 15:13-14
    How responsible had Israel been with her inheritance?
      Jeremiah 16:18

    How bad did the son's situation become after he ran out of money?
      Luke 15:15-16
    Why was this considered by Jews to be the lowest depth to which he could sink?
      Leviticus 11:7-8
    How bad did Israel's situation become after her rebellious living?
      Lamentations 1:18

    What did the son decide after coming to his senses?
      Luke 15:17-19
    What did Israel decide after coming to her senses?
      Lamentations 3:40-42; 5:21

The Forgiving Father (Luke 15:20-24)
    How was the son received after returning from squandering a third of his father's estate?
      Luke 15:20
    What kind of reception can we expect after returning from squandering what our Father gives us?
      Romans 8:38-39

    Did the father accept the son's application for employment?
      Luke 15:21-22
    Was the father thinking of ways for the son to repay his evil?
      Luke 15:23-24
    Does God, our Father, have ways for us to repay our evil?
      Micah 7:18-19
      Isaiah 43:25; 44:22; 55:7

The Faithful Son (Luke 15:25-32)
    How did the faithful and reliable older brother feel about the return of his brother?
      Luke 15:25-30
    Did the early Christians better understand God's grace and mercy to the penitent?
      Acts 11:1-3
    How did they respond when they learned that God had sent His Spirit to the Gentiles?
      Acts 11:17-18

    If those who stray are freely taken back, isn't it unfair for those who remain faithful?
      Luke 15:31
    How does the father in the parable summarize Jesus' key point of Luke 15?
      Luke 15:32
    Why didn't Jesus complete the story with how the elder brother responded?
      Matthew 12:30

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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