A Lost Sheep, a Lost Coin
1The tax collectors and sinners all came to listen to Jesus. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to complain: “Look, this man welcomes sinners and even eats with them.”
3Then Jesus told them this story: 4“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep but loses one of them. Then he will leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the open field and go out and look for the lost sheep until he finds it. 5And when he finds it, he happily puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. He calls to his friends and neighbors and says, ‘Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep.’ 7In the same way, I tell you there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes his heart and life, than over ninety-nine good people who don’t need to change.
8“Suppose a woman has ten silver coins, but loses one. She will light a lamp, sweep the house, and look carefully for the coin until she finds it. 9And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Be happy with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ 10In the same way, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner changes his heart and life.”
The Son Who Left Home
11Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. 12The younger son said to his father, ‘Give me my share of the property.’ So the father divided the property between his two sons. 13Then the younger son gathered up all that was his and traveled far away to another country. There he wasted his money in foolish living. 14After he had spent everything, a time came when there was no food anywhere in the country, and the son was poor and hungry. 15So he got a job with one of the citizens there who sent the son into the fields to feed pigs. 16The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17When he realized what he was doing, he thought, ‘All of my father’s servants have plenty of food. But I am here, almost dying with hunger. 18I will leave and return to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son, but let me be like one of your servants.” ’ 20So the son left and went to his father.
“While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him. 21The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23And get our fat calf and kill it so we can have a feast and celebrate. 24My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
25“The older son was in the field, and as he came closer to the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. 26So he called to one of the servants and asked what all this meant. 27The servant said, ‘Your brother has come back, and your father killed the fat calf, because your brother came home safely.’ 28The older son was angry and would not go in to the feast. So his father went out and begged him to come in. 29But the older son said to his father, ‘I have served you like a slave for many years and have always obeyed your commands. But you never gave me even a young goat to have at a feast with my friends. 30But your other son, who wasted all your money on prostitutes, comes home, and you kill the fat calf for him!’ 31The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32We had to celebrate and be happy because your brother was dead, but now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found.’ ”
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The Holy Bible, New Century Version, Copyright © 2005 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.