The themes of Luke 15:1-32 is three-fold:
1. God’s attitude toward sinners, which is quite different from the Scribes and Pharisees.
2. God rejoices when repentant sinners turn to Him and are "found." God saves anyone who repents and comes to Him on God's terms. There are two aspects to this salvation.
There is God’s part: the shepherd seeks the lost sheep, and the woman searches for the lost silver, and the loving Father looks for the lost Son.
There is man’s part in salvation: for the lost son willingly repented and returned home. To emphasize but one aspect is to give a false view of salvation, for both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man must be considered.
3. Joy comes when that which is lost is found.
We note a four-fold pattern: lost, search, found, and rejoice. This is the pattern of salvation: sinners are lost, they are sought by Christ, they are found, and rejoicing follows.
It is easy for us today to read these two parables and take their message for granted, but the people who first heard them must have been shocked. Jesus was saying that God actually searches for lost sinners not the self-righteous.
No wonder the scribes and Pharisees were offended, for there was no place in their legalistic theology for a God like that. They were like many today, to proud to admit their sinful condition.
Checkmate- The Scribes and Pharisees would affirm the search for the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, while condemning him for searching for and recovering lost souls.
The point is the same for these parables- sinners are lost, they are sought by Christ through us, they are found, and rejoicing follows.