The story about the sheep that got lost
1 There were some people that everyone reckoned did really bad things. Some of them used to get tax money from the people and give it to the Roman government. Everyone reckoned those tax men were bad men. Lots of those bad people often went up to Jesus and listened to him.
2 That upset the Jewish law teachers and the Pharisee mob, the men that were strong for the Jewish law, so they complained about Jesus. They said, “He is a friend of bad people. He even eats food with them.”
3 So Jesus told the people this picture story. He said,
4 “Suppose there is a man that has 100 sheep, but one of them wanders away and gets lost. What do you think that man will do? He will leave all the other sheep and go out into the bush and look for the one that got lost. He will keep on looking for it until he finds it.
5 Then, after he finds it, he will pick it up and carry it back home on his shoulders. He will be really happy.
6 After he gets home, he will call out to his family, and to his friends. He will say, ‘Look, I’ve found my lost sheep. We can all be happy together now.’
7 Well, just like that, whenever somebody turns back to God, everyone in heaven is really happy too. Whenever one bad person stops doing bad things, and lives God’s way, everyone in heaven is really happy. They are even more happy about that person, than they are about the big mob of other people that never went wrong.”
The story about the coin that got lost
8 Jesus told them another picture story. He said, “Suppose a woman has 10 coins, but then she loses one of them in her house. What do you think she will do? She will get a torch and look carefully everywhere in that house. She will even sweep all the floors, and she will keep on looking for her money until she finds it.
9 Then, after she finds it, she will be happy, and she will call out to her family, and to her friends. She will say, ‘Look, I’ve found my lost coin. We can all be happy together now.’
10 Well, just like that, whenever somebody turns back to God, God’s angel messengers in heaven are really happy too. Whenever one bad person stops doing bad things, and lives God’s way, God’s angel messengers in heaven are really happy.”
The story about the young man that got lost
11 Then Jesus told the people another picture story. He said, “There was a man that had 2 sons.
12 One day, his youngest son said to him, ‘Dad, I want you to give me my part of all the things you own. I can’t wait until after you die to get it. No, I want it all now.’ So his father split up everything he had and gave one part to his youngest son, and he kept the other part for his oldest son.
13 A few days later, that youngest son sold all those things that his father gave him, then he took the money and went away to another country, far away. In that country he soon spent all that money. He just wasted it on all sorts of things that made him feel good.
14 After a while, he had no money left. At that time, they got short of food in that country, and soon that young man had nothing to eat.
15 So he got a job with a man in that place. He had to look after that man’s pigs.
16 That young man was so hungry he wanted to eat the rubbish food that the pigs ate, but nobody gave him anything to eat.
17 At last he started to think properly. He thought, ‘Those men that work for my dad in his garden back home, they always get enough food to eat. But I am getting so hungry that I reckon I will die in this place.
18 So I will get up now and go back home to my dad, and I will say to him, “Dad, I’m sorry, I went wrong. I did the wrong thing to God, and I did the wrong thing to you.
19 So now I’m not good enough for you to call me your son, so just let me have a job in your garden. I will work for you, and you can just call me your work-man.” ’
20 So he got up and started to go back to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming along the road. His father felt really sorry for him. He ran to his son and hugged him and kissed him.
21 Then his son said, ‘Dad, I’m sorry, I went wrong. I did the wrong thing to God, and I did the wrong thing to you. So now I’m not good enough for you to call me your son.’
22 But his father said to his workers there, ‘Go and get some really good clothes and put them on him. And be quick. And get him a ring for his finger, and get some shoes for his feet.
23 And get a fat young cow, and kill it, and cook the meat, so we can all have a big party.
24 You see, my son got himself lost, but now I have found him. I thought he was gone for ever, like he was dead, but now he came back to me, and it is like he came alive again.’
So those workers did what he told them to do, and they had a big party.
25 While all that was happening, the oldest son was working out in the garden, and he didn’t know what was going on. Then later, he knocked off work, and he started walking home. He got near to the house, and then he heard a lot of music, and he heard people dancing and having a good time.
26 So he asked one of the work-men, ‘What’s going on?’
27 The work-man said, ‘Your brother just came back home, and your dad is having a party for him. We just killed a young cow and cooked its meat. Your brother is alive and well, so your dad is really happy.’
28 Then the oldest son got angry, and he said, ‘I’m not happy. I’m not going into the house to join in that party. No way.’
So his father came out and said, ‘Don’t be angry. Come on in, and have a good time with us.’ And the father kept on asking him to come in.
29 But the oldest son said, ‘No. It’s not fair. Look, I worked for you for years and years, and I always did everything you told me to do. But you never gave me a party. You didn’t even give me a young goat for me to kill and cook its meat, and have a good time with my friends.
30 But this other son of yours, he took your money away, and he wasted it. He even paid women to sleep with him, like a woman does with her husband. And then he came back here, and now you are good to him. You even killed a young cow and gave him a party. That’s not right.’
31 His father said, ‘Listen, you are my son. You have always stayed with me, and now you own everything that I have. After I die, you will get all of it.
32 But your brother got himself lost, and now I have found him. I thought he was gone for ever, like he was dead, but he came back to me, and now it is like he came alive again. So we have to have a party and be happy together.’ ”