Luke 15:1-10

Luke 15:1-10
Ordinary C42


Now all the tax collectorsI and sinnersII were coming nearIII to listenIV to him. 

Notes on verse 1

I “tax collectors” = telones. From telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one). This is tax collector, one who worked for the Romans taking taxes from Jews. It also meant the toll house. Literally, this is “paying at the end.”
II “sinners” = hamartolos. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. This is sinning, sinful, sinner. It referred to missing the mark or falling short. The term was also used in archery for missing the target.
III “coming near” = eggizo. From eggus (nearby or near in time). This is extremely close by – approaching, at hand, immediately imminent.
IV “listen” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

And the PhariseesV and the scribesVI were grumblingVII and saying, “This fellow welcomesVIII sinners and eats with them.”

Notes on verse 2

V “Pharisees” = Pharisaios. From Aramaic peras (to divide, separate) and from Hebrew parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter). This is a Pharisee, a member of a Jewish sect active in the 1st century. Their name meant separate in the sense of wanting to live a life separated from sin. Whereas the Sadducees were part of the priestly line and inherited their religious position and responsibilities, Pharisees were regular people who studied the scriptures and offered guidance to regular folk. Sadducees were often wealthier and willing to sacrifice their identity to rub elbows with Roman society. Pharisees were often more concerned with what it meant to follow God without compromising what made them different as followers of God. Sadducees primarily believed in that which was written down (the first five books of the Bible) and Pharisees believed in the Bible and the traditions of the elders. Pharisees had a very wide range of interpretations and diversity of opinion. Their standard mode of religious engagement was lively debate with one another. To argue religion with another teacher was to recognize that they had something of value to offer.
VI “scribes” = grammateus. From gramma (what is drawn or written so a letter of the alphabet, correspondence, literature, learning); from grapho (to write). This is a writer, scribe, or secretary. Within Judaism, it was someone learned in the Law, a teacher. Also used in the Bible of the town-clerk of Ephesus. See Sirach 38:24-39:11 for a lengthier, positive passage about who scribes were and what they meant in society.
VII “grumbling” = diagogguzo. 2x in NT – grumbling of Pharisees and scribes before the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:2 & when Jesus agreed to eat with Zacchaeus in Luke 19:7. From dia (through, for the sake of, across, thoroughly) + gogguzo (to murmur or grumble; an onomatopoeia to sound similar to the cooing of doves; figuratively, it is simmering displeasure that is muffled – a dull, constant murmuring). This is to grumble or murmur like the ongoing hum of a dove or bee. It is intense, negative complaining as amplified through a crowd.
VIII “welcomes” = prosdechomai. 14x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is to receive, welcome, expect, accept. It is reception with a warm, personal welcome or active waiting. It can also mean endurance or patience.

3 So he told them this parable:IX “Which oneX of you, having a hundred sheepXI

Notes on verses 3-4a

IX “parable” = parabole. From paraballo (literally to throw beside, compare, arrive, liken); {from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a parable, comparison, adage. Quite often a tale told or a metaphor to establish a point, but it could be a true story.
X “one” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
XI “sheep” = probaton. Probably from probaino (to go forward literally or to advance in years); {from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + the same as basis (a step, pace, foot); {from baino (to walk, to go)}}. This is literally easily led and so a sheep or another grazing animal. Also use figuratively of people who are led easily.

and losingXII one of them, does not leaveXIII the ninety-nine in the wildernessXIV and goXV after the one that is lost until he findsXVI it? 

Notes on verse 4b

XII “losing” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.
XIII “leave” = kataleipo. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + leipo (to leave behind, remain, lack, abandon, fall behind while racing). This is to leave or leave behind, abandon, forsake, leave in reserve.
XIV “wilderness” = eremos. Properly, a place that is not settled or farmed, not populated. It could be a deserted area or a desert place. It could be seen as secluded, solitary, or lonesome. Any kind of vegetation is sparse, but so are people generally.
XV “go” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
XVI “finds” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.

When he has found it, he laysXVII it on his shouldersXVIII and rejoices.XIX

Notes on verse 5

XVII “lays” = epitithemi. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is to lay on or place on, whether in a friendly or aggressive way.
XVIII “shoulders” = omos. 2x in NT. Perhaps from phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is shoulder as a place to carry burdens.
XIX “rejoices” = chairo. From char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting. This is the root verb that the Greek word for “grace” comes from (charis).

6 And when he comes home,XX he calls togetherXXI his friendsXXII and neighbors,XXIII saying to them, ‘Rejoice withXXIV me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 

Notes on verse 6

XX “home” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.
XXI “calls together” = sugkaleo. 8x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to summon or call together.
XXII “friends” = philos. This is dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person.
XXIII “neighbors” = geiton. 4x in NT. From ge (earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area). This is a neighbor as someone whose land is next door. It can also mean friend.
XXIV “rejoice with” = sugchairo. Related to “rejoices” in v5. 7x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + chairo (see note XIX above). This is to rejoice with, sympathize in joy, or share God’s grace.

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joyXXV in heavenXXVI over one sinner who repentsXXVII than over ninety-nine righteousXXVIII persons who needXXIX no repentance.XXX

Notes on verse 7

XXV “joy” = chara. Related to “rejoices” in v5 & “rejoice with” in v6. From chairo (see note XIX above). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
XXVI “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
XXVII “repents” = metanoeo. From meta (with, among, after, beyond) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect)}. This is to change how one thinks, to reconsider, to repent. It refers to a change of thinking, which means a change of purpose and behavior.
XXVIII “righteous” = dikaios. From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is correct, righteous, just, or a righteous person. It implies innocent or conforming to God’s standard of justice.
XXIX “need” = chreia. From chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is the is task, business, or affair. It can also be need, want, or destitution.
XXX “repentance” = metanoia. Related to “repents” in v7. From metanoeo (see note XXVII above). This is literally to change one’s mind – to choose to think differently and so to act differently because of a moral compunction. It is an intentional change to the inner self. This word shares a root with the English “paranoia.”

8 “Or what womanXXXI having ten silver coins,XXXII if she loses one of them, does not lightXXXIII a lamp,XXXIV

Notes on verse 8a

XXXI “woman” = gune. Perhaps from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
XXXII “silver coins” = drachme. 3x in NT – all in Luke 15:8-9. From drassomai (to grasp, catch, trap); perhaps related to drakon (dragon, large serpent, Satan; one who sees); from derkomai (to look). This is a drachma, which is a Greek coin that is silver.
XXXIII “light” = hapto. 5x in NT. This is to touch, cling, light on fire.
XXXIV “lamp” = luchnos. 14x in NT. Perhaps from the base of leukos (bright, white, brilliant); from luke (light). This is a lamp that is portable and fueled by oil. It can mean light in a literal or figurative sense.

sweepXXXV the house,XXXVI and searchXXXVII carefullyXXXVIII until she finds it? 

Notes on verse 8b

XXXV “sweep” = saroo. 3x in NT. From sairo (to brush off). This is to sweep or clean out by sweeping.
XXXVI “house” = oikia. Related to “home” in v6. From oikos (see note XX above). This is a house, household, goods, property, family, or means.
XXXVII “search” = zeteo. This is to seek, search for, desire. It is searching for something by inquiring or investigation. It can be seek in a literal or figurative sense. There is a Hebrew figure of speech “to seek God’s face” so it can also mean to worship God. Alternately, you could seek someone’s life i.e. plot to kill them.
XXXVIII “carefully” = epimelos. 1x in NT. From epimeles (careful, worrying about); akin to epimeleomai (to attend to, care for); {from epi (on, upon, to, against, what is fitting) + melo (to think about something, take an interest; to care or worry about something)}. This is carefully or diligently.

When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there isXXXIX joy in the presence ofXL the angelsXLI of GodXLII over one sinner who repents.”

Notes on verses 9-10

XXXIX “is” = ginomai. Related to “woman” in v8. See note XXXI above.
XL “in the presence of” = enopios. Related to “one” in v4. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + ops (see note X above). This is literally in the eye of, before, in presence.
XLI “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
XLII “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

Image credit: “The Seeker” by Mike Moyers, 2010.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply