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Jul 26, 2007


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can you pls clarify for my understanding...
are the shepherd and woman "bad" in the Luke 15 parable because 'THEY lost the sheep/coin'?
is this to do with the admission of 'guilt' or responsibility which you say was culturally unusual at Jesus' time - ie - rather than saying 'the coin was lost' ...'the woman lost the coin'?

i have read a number of posts in a row and my head is spinning - so sorry if my qn is a bit silly cos i have missed something in the text?

Michael W. Kruse

Kerryn, I think the central point is that losing a sheep, or losing a valuable coin that has been entrused to you, would be deeply shameful. Therefore, the shepherd/woman are deeply motivated to find the lost sheep/coin not just for the sake of the lost but because of what it says about themselves. Their integrity is on the line. The celebration is about their integrity in having recovered the lost and less about the sheep/coin that was recovered. The parallel with the compassionate father is that the father throws a celebration in honor of getting his son back ("getting back" in an active not passive sense.) The father/God celebrates the demonstration of his character in recovering his son. It is an image of the eschatological celebration where we will celebrate the mighty acts of God in winning back his people.

Therefore, when the shepherd/woman lose a sheep/coin their integrity will be besmirched if they don't recover what they lost. Jesus makes it unmistakably clear that the Pharisees have lost the sheep but don't appear the least bit disturbed about what this says about their character. In fact, Jesus is there doing their work for them and they are critical of Jesus!

In one sense, the shepherd/woman are "bad" only if they fail to rectify the problem. Becasue they do diligenty restore what is lost they are the good shepherd and the good woman. How much more so is God the Good shepherd when he restores "rebel sheep?"

Does that make sense?


sure does make sense.
thanks for clarifying.

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