One day in Galilee Jesus sat down to eat dinner with some people who were not righteous. When some men called Pharisees saw Jesus eating with sinners, they grumbled. Why would Jesus eat with those people?
Jesus answered the men by telling them three parables.
First He told about a sheep that got lost in the mountains. The shepherd left his other 99 sheep and searched for the lost one until he found it. Then he told his friends, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.”
Jesus wanted the men to understand that people who have sinned are like the lost sheep. Heavenly Father is like the loving shepherd, and every single person is important to Him—including those who make bad choices. Jesus said that when one sinner repents there is great joy in heaven.
The second parable Jesus told was about a woman who lost one of her ten silver coins. She swept her house and searched diligently until she finally found her lost coin. Then she celebrated joyfully with her friends.
Jesus was teaching the Pharisees that instead of being proud of how righteous they thought they were, they should search for people who are lost from the Church and be joyful when they come back.
The third parable was about two sons. The older one worked hard on his father’s farm and did everything his father asked. The younger son asked his father for money and then went to another land. There he spent all the money living foolishly and sinning. Poor, hungry, and sad, he decided to go back home and beg his father for forgiveness.
When the father saw his younger son coming down the road, he ran and kissed him. Then he had his servants bring his prodigal son new clothing and shoes and prepare a big celebration.
The older son, who always obeyed his father, was angry. Why should there be a celebration for his brother, who had sinned and wasted his father’s money?
The father explained that the older son would be richly blessed for all the good things he had done. But when the younger son was living a life of sin, it was like he was lost and not safe. Now that he had humbly repented, he was found again and had come safely home.
Heavenly Father will always generously bless those who are righteous. But He loves all of His children and wants us to help find those who have lost their way and welcome them back.