|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1-10 The parable of the lost sheep is very applicable to the great work of man's redemption. The lost sheep represents the sinner as departed from God, and exposed to certain ruin if not brought back to him, yet not desirous to return. Christ is earnest in bringing sinners home. In the parable of the lost piece of silver, that which is lost, is one piece, of small value compared with the rest. Yet the woman seeks diligently till she finds it. This represents the various means and methods God makes use of to bring lost souls home to himself, and the Saviour's joy on their return to him. How careful then should we be that our repentance is unto salvation!
Verses 3-5. - And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness? Now, there are two leading ideas in the three stories - one on the side of the Speaker; one on the side of those to whom the parable-stories were spoken.
(1) On the side of the speaker. God's anxiety for sinners is shown; he pities with a great pity their wretchedness; he sets, besides, a high value on their souls, as part of a treasure belonging to him.
(2) On the side of the listeners. Their sympathy with him in his anxiety for stoners is claimed. He has sought it hitherto m vain. The imagery of the first story is very homely - easy, too, to understand. A small sheep-master pastures his little flock of a hundred sheep in one of those wide uncultivated plains which fringe portions of the land of promise. This is what we must understand by "the wilderness." The hundred sheep represent the people of Israel. The lost sheep, one who had broken with Jewish respectability. One only is mentioned as lost, not by any means as representing the small number of the outcast class - the contrary is the case - but as indicative of the value in the eyes of the All-Father of one immortal soul. And go after that which is lost, until he find it. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. This diligent search after the lost one, the tender care shown by the shepherd when the object of his search was found, and the subsequent joy, pictured in a humble everyday figure the mode of acting of which the orthodox Jews complained. They said, "He receiveth stoners, and eateth with them."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he spake this parable unto them,.... To the Pharisees, for their conviction and confutation; and to the publicans and sinners for their encouragement; and in vindication of himself; and not only this, but the other two, concerning the lost piece of money, and the prodigal son, which were said at this time, and on the same occasion;
saying, as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Lu 15:3-7. I. The Lost Sheep.
3-7. Occurring again (Mt 18:12-14); but there to show how precious one of His sheep is to the Good Shepherd; here, to show that the shepherd, though the sheep stray never so widely, will seek it out, and when he hath found, will rejoice over it.
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