Joy in Heaven
1 Many tax collectors and sinners came to listen to Jesus.
2 Then the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to complain, “Look, this man welcomes sinners and even eats with them!”
3 Then Jesus told them this story:
4 “Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 sheep there in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep. You will continue to search for it until you find it.
5 And when you find it, you will be very happy. You will carry it
6 home, go to your friends and neighbors and say to them, ‘Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep!’
7 In the same way, I tell you, heaven is a happy place when one sinner decides to change. There is more joy for that one sinner than for 99 good people who don’t need to change.
8 “Suppose a woman has ten silver coins, but she loses one of them. She will take a light and clean the house. She will look carefully for the coin until she finds it.
9 And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say to them, ‘Be happy with me because I have found the coin that I lost!’
10 In the same way, it’s a happy time for the angels of God when one sinner decides to change.”
Story About Two Sons
11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Give me now the part of your property that I am supposed to receive someday.’ So the father divided his wealth between his two sons.
13 “A few days later the younger son gathered up all that he had and left. He traveled far away to another country, and there he wasted his money living like a fool.
14 After he spent everything he had, there was a terrible famine throughout the country. He was hungry and needed money.
15 So he went and got a job with one of the people who lived there. The man sent him into the fields to feed pigs.
16 He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the food the pigs were eating. But no one gave him anything.
17 “The son realized that he had been very foolish. He thought, ‘All my father’s hired workers have plenty of food. But here I am, almost dead because I have nothing to eat.
18 I will leave and go to my father. I will say to him: Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But let me be like one of your hired workers.’
20 So he left and went to his father.
The Younger Son Returns
“While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him coming and felt sorry for him. So he ran to him and hugged and kissed him.
21 The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and good sandals on his feet.
23 And bring our best calf and kill it so that we can celebrate with plenty to eat.
24 My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to have a party.
The Older Son Complains
25 “The older son had been out in the field. When he came near the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.
26 So he called to one of the servant boys and asked, ‘What does all this mean?’
27 The boy said, ‘Your brother has come back, and your father killed the best calf to eat. He is happy because he has his son back safe and sound.’
28 “The older son was angry and would not go in to the party. So his father went out and begged him to come in.
29 But he said to his father, ‘Look, for all these years I have worked like a slave for you. I have always done what you told me to do, and you never gave me even a young goat for a party with my friends.
30 But then this son of yours comes home after wasting your money on prostitutes, and you kill the best calf for him!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Oh, my son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
32 But this was a day to be happy and celebrate. Your brother was dead, but now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found.’ ”