Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
She calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’
The father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
– Luke 15.6,9,22-24.
Some of you may have noticed that I keep on calling the tale of the Prodigal Son a story rather than a parable.
That’s because, as fascinating as it is, the story of the Prodigal Son is not a parable by itself.
At the start of the chapter we read:
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable:
– Luke 15.1-3
“This parable” seems to continue uninterrupted through to the end of the chapter, changing only at the start of chapter 16 when Jesus is reported telling his disciples another story. That means it includes the story of the shepherd with the missing sheep, the woman and the missing coin, as well as the Father with the missing Son.
As such, it’s interesting, though not overly surprising, that the key motif of this parable is repeated three times, an invitation extended out to the crowd listening to the story.
Rejoice with me! I have found what was lost!
We know that the first two stories end with the angels in heaven rejoicing over the sinners who repent.
This shows us that the sinner’s repenting are valuable like the lost sheep and the lost coin.
However, in the story of the Prodigal Son there are no angels rejoicing. The story doesn’t reach a complete end.
Does the older brother go in, and celebrate? Or not?
What will we do?
Jesus says, ‘Rejoice with me! For what was lost has been found.’