15:3 parable. This chapter consists of three “lost-and-found” parables—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. All were told in answer to the Pharisee’s quibble about Jesus eating with sinners (Luke 15:2).
15:4 that which is lost. Note the numerical sequence in the three parables: one out of a hundred sheep was lost, one out of ten coins (Luke 15:8) and one out of two sons (Luke 15:11). A less concerned shepherd would have let the lost sheep go, but “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Similarly, a more careless woman would not have gone to so much trouble to find one lost coin when she still had nine, but the Lord “came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), and He knew the full redemption price must be paid. No human father could be unaffected by the loss of half his sons, but all he could do was pray. He could not go searching for the wandering son, like the shepherd or the woman, but God could!