Three Lost Objects: Yet Another Look (Part 2 of 2) -- By: Randy C. Hillman

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 07:4 (Oct 2001)
Article: Three Lost Objects: Yet Another Look (Part 2 of 2)
Author: Randy C. Hillman

Three Lost Objects: Yet Another Look1
(Part 2 of 2)

Randy C. Hillman*

[*Editor's note: Randy C. Hillman currently pastors Grace Bible Church in San Jose, California after serving churches in Ohio and Arizona. He received his B.A. in Greek and Judaic Studies from the University of Arizona in Tucson and his Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Talbot School of Theology. His thesis, “The Lamb of God in John 1:29, ” explored the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and Christ’s coming in fulfillment of the Old Testament. He has a strong interest in the use of figurative language, especially parables. His email address is]


In our first part, we noted the basic issues of interpretation in Luke 15 and saw the unity of the chapter. All three parables are consistent and have a common theme that unites them: something is lost (lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son) and when its owner finds it, he rejoices. We noted the Old Testament background of shepherding and God as the shepherd of His people. The Lord God would be the ultimate Shepherd to His people by sending the Messiah (cf. Ezekiel 34). We also examined Luke 19 and the story of Zacchaeus as it relates to Jesus’ mission and the constant grumbling of the religious crowd toward Jesus. In this part, we now address the main issues of Luke 15: who are the righteous and does it refer to believers or unbelievers?

The Righteousness of the Pharisees: A Spiritual Do-It-Yourself Kit

Earlier we noted the issue of those called “righteous” (cf. Luke 15:7), but now address this point directly. Perhaps I am missing something, but as I read the Gospels, the very people who considered themselves “righteous” having no need of repentance were indeed the Pharisees whom Jesus was addressing (Luke 15:1–2; cf. 18:9)! We must examine the concept of “righteousness” in the Gospels and Paul to see how it often reflects self-righteousness. Then we must determine if Luke 15 uses it in an ironical sense. Many passages present a “righteousness” that was (and is) relative (Matthew 5:20), self-evaluated (Luke 16:15),

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