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 <<  Lukas 15 >> 

Finding the lost

1ANOTHER time, the tax-collectors and sinners were all crowding in to listen to him;

2and the Pharisees and scribes began murmuring their disapproval: “This fellow”, they said, “welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3He answered them with this parable:

4“If one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does he not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is missing until he finds it?

5And when he does, he lifts it joyfully on to his shoulders,

6and goes home to call his friends and neighbours together. ‘Rejoice with me!’ he cries. ‘I have found my lost sheep.’

7In the same way, I tell you, there will be greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.

8“Or again, if a woman has ten silver coins and loses one of them, does she not light the lamp, sweep out the house, and look in every corner till she finds it?

9And when she does, she calls her friends and neighbours together, and says, ‘Rejoice with me! I have found the coin that I lost.’

10In the same way, I tell you, there is joy among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

11Again he said: “There was once a man who had two sons;

12and the younger said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the property.’ So he divided his estate between them.

13A few days later the younger son turned the whole of his share into cash and left home for a distant country, where he squandered it in dissolute living.

14He had spent it all, when a severe famine fell upon that country and he began to be in need.

15So he went and attached himself to one of the local landowners, who sent him on to his farm to mind the pigs.

16He would have been glad to fill his belly with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17Then he came to his senses: ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more food than they can eat,’ he said, ‘and here am I, starving to death!

18I will go at once to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you;

19I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’

20So he set out for his father's house. But while he was still a long way off his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran to meet him, flung his arms round him, and kissed him.

21The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you; I am no longer fit to be called your son.’

22But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Fetch a robe, the best we have, and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

23Bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast.

24For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.’ And the festivities began.

25“Now the elder son had been out on the farm; and on his way back, as he approached the house, he heard music and dancing.

26He called one of the servants and asked what it meant.

27The servant told him, ‘Your brother has come home, and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and pleaded with him;

29but he retorted, ‘You know how I have slaved for you all these years; I never once disobeyed your orders; yet you never gave me so much as a kid, to celebrate with my friends.

30But now that this son of yours turns up, after running through your money with his women, you kill the fatted calf for him.’

31‘My boy,’ said the father, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

32How could we fail to celebrate this happy day? Your brother here was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

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