There are several occasions when Jesus shows us our position with the Father by being very free in describing the way the Father operates. The parable of “lost things” in Luke’s gospel is such an occasion. It is one parable, told in three stanzas: The lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. Each tells of a Father who is interested in the one lost thing. To show the familiar, God is displayed as a shepherd searching the hillside for a lost lamb, and a woman sweeping out a house and a father who is rich in everything, but is grieving for his poor lost son.
Jesus was this open and free in describing the Father and wants us to feel free as well. The reason is because God is supremely free. The generosity of God has to be told in parables and stories so we can grasp some of their truth. Nothing is more paradoxical and unknown than a generous God to an unforgiving and undeserving people. It has to be in story form for us to even understand a little bit of it. We are dealing with such new concepts in the Kingdom that nearly all of them require an example, a story, for us to get it. It requires an explanation when the person who loses is the winner, and the first is the last and the one who wants to save his life must lose it.
And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry.” Jesus