Three Lost Objects: Yet Another Look Part 1 of 2 -- By: Randy C. Hillman

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 07:3 (Jul 2001)
Article: Three Lost Objects: Yet Another Look Part 1 of 2
Author: Randy C. Hillman

Three Lost Objects: Yet Another Look1
Part 1 of 2

Randy C. Hillman*

[*Editor's note: Randy C. Hillman 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 M.A.B.S. from Talbot School of Theology. Randy’s email address is: [email protected]]


Perhaps no passage in the Gospels better summarizes Jesus’ mission to Israel than this:

I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24; cf. John 1:11).2

Jesus Christ did not come as an isolated person in history but as the Messiah to Israel, promised and predicted for hundreds of years before. Although some Gentiles responded to Christ’s ministry (cf. Matthew 8:5–13), Jesus’ primary concern was for God’s chosen people, the Jews, and He presented Himself against the background of the Old Testament and as the fulfillment of those prophecies (cf. Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27, 44–47; John 5:46; 12:31).3

The Old Testament context is especially crucial for a full appreciation of the parables in Luke 15. Christians for centuries have much-admired these three parables in Luke 15, especially the last one about the Prodigal Son, which scholars call the “Evangelium in Evangelio, The Gospel within the Gospel.”4 Despite the admiration for these parables, they have been and continue to be a subject of debate as to their interpretation. Do they envision unbelievers or believers? How do they relate to the subject of repentance? This article will examine the Old Testament background of Jesus’ mission as seen in Luke 15 and other Synoptic passages that clarify the nature of the conflict that initiated the occasion of these parables.

Statement of the Problem

There is no shortage of interpretations for these parables. Some commentators apply them to unbelievers, others to beli...

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