15:1 Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him.

15:2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable:

15:4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

15:5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders

15:6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'

15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

15:8 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?

15:9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'

15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

15:11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.

15:12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

15:13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

15:14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

15:15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.

15:16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

15:17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!

15:18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

15:19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'

15:20 So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

15:21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

15:22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

15:23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.

15:24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

15:25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.

15:26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.

15:27 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

15:28 "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.

15:29 But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.

15:30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

15:31 "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

15:32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"