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A Literal Translation of the New Testament

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By Hal Dekker

Luke 15:1-32



Luke 15, The Lost Things

Now let’s turn to Luke 15 to consider Jesus Christ’ parable, and the possible resemblance his story elements have to the spiritual realities related to his purpose for coming.  The obvious circumstance Jesus sets before us in all three parts of this parable, is that of something being lost and recovered. The elements in the story which were lost were the sheep, drachma, and a son. Because this is a parable, see Luke 15:3, these lost physical elements of the story are intended to resemble spiritual things which can become lost. Depending upon one’s spiritual ability to see, hear and put it together, the story elements of Jesus’ parables are more or less obvious. Some parables require more or less study and meditation to come upon the revelation of their meanings. God’s Word cannot be understood from taking drive-by glances at it. Now, going verse by verse and line by line, I would like to show you what I see, hear and put together in Jesus Christ’s parable of the Lost Things.

Luke 15:1 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) there were being (ēsan), coming near (eggizontes) to him (autō), all (pantes) the (hoi) termination-tax collectors5057 (telōnai), and (kai) the (hoi) sinful ones (hamartōloi), to hear (akouein) him (autou).


Luke 15:2 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) were murmuring (diegogguzon) both (te) the (hoi) Pharisees (pharisaioi) and (kai) the (hoi) writers (grammateis), saying (legontes) that (hoti), "This one (houtos) causes himself to receive to himself (prosdechetai) sinful ones (hamartōlous), and (kai) he eats together with (sunesthiei) them (autois)!"


"It is quite evident that the subject he wished to illustrate was not the manner of his own ministry and method; but rather the attitudes and activities of God in the presence of derelict humanity." (13Morgan, 212)


Luke 15:3 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) he enunciated (eipen) to (pros) them (autous) the (tēn) parable (parabolēn) [of] this (tautēn), saying (legōn),

Luke 15:4 (LIT/UBS4) "Which (tis) mortal (anthrōpos) out (ex) of you (humōn), having (echōn) [a] hundred (hekaton) sheep (probata), and (kai) having lost (apolesas) one (hen) out (ex) of them (autōn), absolutely does not leave (ou kataleipei) the (ta) ninety (enenēkonta) nine (ennea) in (en) the (tē) desolate place (erēmō) and (kai) causes himself to go (poreuetai) over (epi) [the sake, AE] of the one (to) having been lost (apolōlos), until (heōs) he may find (heurē) it (auto)!?

"Which mortal" - Jesus said, "I am the beautiful shepherd." (John 10:7-16)

Jesus said, that of everyone which he has given to me, I may not lose [anyone] out of it" (John 6:37-40)

Apostle John says to us, "Look to yourselves that we do not lose those things which we have wrought, BUT, we may receive a full reward." (2 John 1:7-9)

Luke 15:5 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) having found (eurōn) [the one] he puts (epitithēsin) [the one] upon (epi) the (tous) shoulders (ōmous) of him (autou), rejoicing (chairōn).

What may Jesus mean by "laying a lost sheep upon the shoulders of him"? (Isaiah 53:1-12, especially verses 4, 6, 11, 12) Jesus Christ, by carrying the burden for our sin, lifted us up and carried us when we were lost!

Luke 15:6 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) having come (elthōn) into (eis) the (ton) house (oikon), he calls together (sunkalei) the (tous) loved ones (philous) and (kai) the (tous) neighbors (geitonas), saying (legōn) to them (autois), "Be made joyful together with (suncharēte) me (moi), because (hoti) I have found (heuron) the (to) sheep (probaton) of me (mou), the one (to) having been lost (apolōlos).

Luke 15:7 (LIT/UBS4) I say (legō) to you (humin) that (hoti), thusly (houtōs) joy (chara) shall cause itself to be (estai) in (en) to the (tō) heaven (ouranō) over (epi) one (heni) sinful one (hamartōlō) repenting (metanoounti), than (ē) over (epi) ninety (enenēkonta) nine (ennea) righteous ones (dikaiois), the ones who (hoitines) have (echousin) absolutely no (ou) need (chreian) of repentance (metanoias)!

Corresponding Story Elements:

The shepherd: - Jesus, leading mortals to wholeness.

- Disciples of Jesus Christ leading mortals to Jesus Christ.

99 Sheep: - Righteousness ones, disciples/followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Lost Sheep: - A lost sinner needing repentance.

Shoulders: - Figure of speech for Jesus, who "our sicknesses he lifted up (nasa), and our pains he carried (cabal) them." Jesus Christ, by carrying the burden for our sin, lifted us up and carried us when we were lost!


The Lost Drachma

Luke 15:8 (LIT/UBS4) Or (ē) which (tis) female (gunē) having (echousa) ten (deka) drachmas (drachmas), if perhaps (ean) she may lose (apolesē) one (mian) drachma (drachmēn), absolutely does not take hold (ouchi haptei) of [a] lamp (luchnon) and (kai) sweep (saroi) the (tēn) house (oikian), and (kai) search (zētei) carefully (epimelōs) until (heōs) she may find (heurē) [one drachma, RE] which (hou) [she lost, RE]!?

Luke 15:9 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) having found (heurousa) [it] she calls together (sunkalei) the (tas) loved ones (philas) and (kai) neighbors (geitonas), saying (legousa), "Be made joyful together with (suncharēte) me (moi), because (hoti) I have found (euron) the (tēn) drachma (drachmēn) which (hēn) I lost (apōlesa).

Luke 15:10 (LIT/UBS4) This (houtōs), I say (legō) to you (humin), joy (chara) causes itself to come to pass (ginetai) in sight (enopion) of the (tōn) messengers (angelōn) of the (tou) God (theou) over (epi) one (heni) sinful one (hamartōlō) repenting (metanoounti).

1 Lost Drachma: - A lost sinner repenting.

Westerners have little knowledge of the customs and cultural idioms of the Middle East, and so may not understand the depth of meaning in this parable, which lies in the cultural value of that one lost drachma out of the ten.

"When a Bethlehem women marries, her bridegroom gives her a wedding gift of ten pieces of silver which she wears on a chain hanging from her curious helmet, with a central pendant. She prizes this gift very much and guards it carefully, because any carelessness on her part would be regarded by her husband as lack of affection and respect for him. He could even think she had purchased a lover with the lost money and he could, and very likely would, divorce her. These coins were held sacred by the Jews and could not be taken for a debt. The wife could use this money only in case of need in widowhood." (8Bowman, 37-38)

Jesus, in his parable says the woman lost the coin (verse 9), "the one I have lost". The shepherd did not lose the one sheep, it wandered off by itself. Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5, speaks of Jesus Christ in relationship to the assembly (ekklēsia), the assembly, his one body, as a husband in relationship to his wife. The members of his body are referred to in a figure of speech as "wives" in Eph. 5:22, who must submit themselves to their own husbands, as unto the Lord. In Paul’s analogy, the members of Christ’s body stand in relationship to the head, Jesus Christ, as a wife stands in relationship to her head, her husband. The dowry Jesus Christ has given his "wife", is not ten pieces of silver, but his broken body and poured out blood (Eph. 5:25). Let us, the "wife" treat not with carelessness, nonchalance or apathy the riches of the dowry we have in him, which is the gift of holy Spirit, Christ in us (Col. 1:27).

In this even deeper possible correspondence to the lost drachma, the woman who lost the drachma would be symbolic of any Laodicean-like disciples who have lost sight of who they once were in Christ, who neglect the gift of their own new birth (Heb. 2:1-4), and the acknowledgement of who they are in Christ, causing grief to holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).


The Lost Younger Son

Luke 15:11 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) he enunciated (eipen), "A certain (tis) mortal (anthrōpos) was having (eichen) two (duo) sons (huios),

Luke 15:12 (LIT/UBS4) and (kai) the (ho) youngest one (neōteros) of them (autōn) enunciated (eipen) to the (tō) father (patri), "Father (pater), give (dos) to me (moi) the (to) allotment (meros) of the (tēs) property (ousias) being thrown (epiballon) [to me]." But (de) the (ho) [property] he distributed (dieilen) to them (autois), the (ton) living (bion) [property].

I believe the primary purpose of this parable of Jesus, is to make known God the heavenly Father, and his hearts desire for mortalkind, his creation.

"two sons" – two kinds of mortalkind, those who are obedient to God the heavenly Father, who follow after the firstborn son of God, represented by the older son, and those who are disobedient spoiled brats, represented by the younger son.

"the younger son" – portrayed as a spoiled brat youth, corresponding to disobedient mortalkind.

"Father" – God the heavenly Father.

"the property, the living" – Jesus said:


John 14:6 (LIT/UBS4) The (ho) Jesus (Iēsous) says (legei) to him (auto), “I (ego) am (eimi) the (hē) Way (hodos), and (kai) the (hē) Truth (aletheia), and (kai) the (hē) Life (zoe).


John 6:51 (LIT/UBS4) I (egō) am (eimi) the (ho) bread (artos), the (ho) living (zōn) [manna, v49, RE], the (ho) [son, v42, RE] having stepped down (katabas) out (ek) of the (tou) heaven (ouranou).


If perhaps (ean) anyone (tis) may eat (phagē) out (ek) of the (tou) bread (artou) of this (toutou), he shall live (zēsei) into (eis) the (ton) age (aiōna).


And (kai) the (ho) bread (artos), but (de) the (hē) flesh (sarx) of me (mou) which (hon) I shall give (dōsō), is (estin) over (huper) [the sake] of the (tēs) life (zōēs) of the (tou) cosmos (kosmou).”


Apostle Paul said, "Because in him we live, and move, and are being." (Acts 17:24-30) God’s Word, especially concerning Jesus Christ, is our living, our true source of income and sufficiency!

God the heavenly Father has given a portion of his "property", of his "living" to mortalkind, in the form of Jesus Christ and his baptism in God's gift of his holy Spirit. Each mortal now has the opportunity to use it wisely or squander it.

Luke 15:13 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) with (met) absolutely not (ou) many (pollas) days (hēmeras), having brought together (sunagagōn) all (panta), the (ho) youngest (neōteros) son (huios) went away (apedēmēsen) into (eis) a far off (makran) region (chōran), and (kai) there (ekei) he scattered through (dieskorpisen) [the region] the (tēn) property (ousian) of him (autou), living (zōn) unwholesomely (asōtōs).

"And with absolutely not many days" – He was in a big hurry to leave.

"went away from his people" – He turned his back on the Father and his family. (Acts 3:25; Eph. 2:19)

"a distant country" – The younger son went out from under God’s covenant hand of protection. (Isaiah 8:9-15; Eph. 2:12)

"living unwholesomely" – He lived according to the world’s standards, which really are not standards at all. (Gal. 5:19-21)

"The interest of an Eastern family is always centered around the firstborn son. The other children are almost disregarded. The father is deeply devoted to his firstborn who is the heir of the family and his successor after his death. The discrimination between the sons is so great that it causes jealousy and disputes, and strains the family relations. The firstborn, even in his early youth is empowered by his father to act in his absence and to take care of the family. He has the power to buy and sell, receive guests, look after servants and pay them wages, hire and discharge laborers, and even punish his mother, brothers and sisters as he sees fit. He becomes the master of the house. If it happens that he is young and lacks understanding, he often misuses his powers.

From early childhood, rivalry and hatred exist between the elder and the younger, largely due to the fact that the younger brother is ignored by the family. The best garments are made for the firstborn and a larger and more delicious portion of food is given him. The younger brother is never consulted, and even when he gives good advice, his counsel is ignored.

While fathers invariably take sides with the elder son, the mother is more friendly toward the younger. But she has nothing to say in the household affairs when money and property are concerned. Her task is solely one of reconciliation. She tries to make peace between her sons but, when she fails, the younger son secures his property and leaves his home. He either goes to the house of a friend or to another town where he would be away from the brother he hates.

In the East, family property consists of sheep, food, supplies, a little cash, and lands. This property does not belong to a father as in America, but to all male members who have an equal share in it. A son of twelve years of age, in the east, is often married, and after marriage, he generally lives with his father’s family. If he decides to leave his father’s house, he takes with him his share of the entire property. If unmarried he does the same. To leave the father and go away is a common thing in the east; this is about the only way a younger son can change the attitude of his father toward him. When he was at home his father disregarded him, but after he leaves, thoughts and worries about him invade his father’s mind. He begins to blame his firstborn and gradually begins to feel affection for the younger boy. He sends servants out to search and make inquiries of travelers in the town whether they have heard of him. If he returns, even though he has misused his fortune, the father receives him and makes a feast of thanksgiving for him. A banquet is needed not only because the father is happy over his son’s return, but because townspeople gather all day at the house to see the son who was lost and is found.

Such also is the joy of our Heavenly Father and of the angels, when a sinner who has spent his life in luxuries and evil, returns from the error of his ways and begins a new life." (6Lamsa, 275-277)

Luke 15:14 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) having spent (dapanēsantos) everything (panta) of him (autou), a strong (ischura) famine (limos) caused itself to come to pass (egeneto) down against (kata) the (tēn) region (choran) of that (ekeinēn), and (kai) he (autos) caused himself to start (ērxato) to lack (hustereisthai).

"a strong famine" – Spiritually evil world conditions. (John 10:10; 1 Pet. 5:8)

"he began lacking" – He wasn’t self-sufficient to defeat the spiritual evil in the world which he allowed to come upon him from going out from under the Father’s covenant hand of protection. (Col. 2:8)

Luke 15:15 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) he having been caused to go (poreutheis), he was glued2853 (ekollēthē) to one (heni) of the (tōn) citizens (politōn) of the (tēs) region (chōras) of that (ekeinēs)

And (kai) [the citizen] sent (epempsen) him (auton) into (eis) the (tous) fields (agrous) of him (auton) to herd (boskein) young swine (choirous).

"glued to one of the citizens of the country" – He became a friend of the world. (2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:11)

"to pasture young swine" – He was wasting his time doing dead works, and the world’s bidding. He was not doing anything profitable for God. "A most degrading occupation for anyone, and for a Jew, an unspeakable degradation." (14Robertson’s Word Pictures)

Luke 15:16 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) he was lusting (epethumei) to load (gemisai) the (tēn) belly (koilian) of him (autou) from (apo) the (tōn) little [carob] horns (keratiōn) of (hōn) the (hoi) young swine (choiroi) were eating (ēsthion), and (kai) absolutely not one (oudeis) [young swine, RE] was giving (edidou) [them, AE] to him (autō)!

He had an emptiness in his heart which the things of the world couldn’t fill, about which none of the "citizens of the country" cared.  In the record in Luke 11:52 Jesus pronounces a foregone conclusion to the doctors of the law, leadership, who held the key of knowledge of God’s Word, but refused to feed the children of Israel with that knowledge. As holders of the key to the knowledge of God’s Word, the lawyers held the power to either open or close the knowledge to God’s people. They chose to close the knowledge to the people of God.

Luke 15:17 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) having come (elthōn) into (eis) himself (heauton), he shed light5346 (ephē), "How many (posoi) wage earners (misthioi) of the (tou) father (patros) of me (mou) are causing themselves to have an abundance (perisseuontai) of loaves of bread (artōn)!? 

But (de) here (ōde) I (egō) lose myself (apollumai) to famine (limō)!

"But having come into himself" – "As if he had been as far from himself as he was from home. As a matter of fact he had been away, out of his head, and now began to see things as they really were.  Plato is quoted by Ackerman (Christian Element in Plato) as thinking of redemption as coming to oneself." (Robertson’s Word Pictures)

"servants … have an abundance of breads" – Jesus said he is the "bread" from heaven, the bread of life (John 6:32-35).  All those who love God and his son Jesus Christ, are servants of them, and "eat" this bread of life.

Jesus said to search first for the Kingdom of God, then our needs for food, drink and clothing would be met by God (Mat. 6:30-33).

Luke 15:18 (LIT/UBS4) Having stood up (anastas) I shall cause myself to go (poreusomai) to (pros) the (ton) father (patera) of me (mou), and (kai) I shall state (erō) to him (autō), 'Father (pater), I have sinned (hēmarton) into (eis) the (ton) heaven (ouranon) and (kai) in sight (enōpion) of you (sou).

Because of the destruction from the "famine" the younger son finally turns in his heart to repentance toward his father.

Luke 15:19 (LIT/UBS4) I am (eimi) absolutely no longer yet (ouketi) one worthy (axios) to be called aloud (klēthēnai) [a] son (huios) of you (sou)!


Make (poiēson) me (me) as (hōs) one (hena) of the (tōn) wage earners (misthiōn) of you (sou).'"


Luke 15:20 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) having stood up (anastas), he went (ēlthen) to (pros) the (ton) father (patera) of him (autou)


But (de) of him (autou) yet (eti) holding away (apechontos) far off (makran), the (ho) father (patēr) of him (autou) saw (eiden) him (auton), and (kai) he felt his bowel yearn (esplagchnisthē)


And (kai) having run (dramōn), he fell (epepesen) upon (epi) the (ton) neck (trachēlon) of him (autou) and (kai) loved him down2705 (katephilēsen auton).

Jesus description of the Father’s joy upon the repentance of any mortal toward him, that his tears fell upon the neck of the young son as he kissed him down, i.e., smothered him is kisses. What a wonderful description of God the heavenly Father’s joy at the repentance of a sinner. The Father’s goodness is great (Psalm 57:10). He is very patient, and not willing that anyone should perish, but come unto repentance (2 Peter 3:9).