This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories. Luke indicated that Jesus said that the father of this returning son said that his son was dead (ὅτι οὗτος ὁ υἱός μου νεκρὸς). Now he was alive again (ἦν καὶ ἀνέζησεν). He was lost (ἦν ἀπολωλὼς) and now was found (καὶ εὑρέθη). Thus, they began to celebrate (καὶ ἤρξαντο εὐφραίνεσθαι). Once again, there was the theme of celebrating or rejoicing when they found something or someone who was lost. First it was the sheep, then the coin, and here the son. Rejoice and be merry when you find something or someone who was lost! Do you celebrate finding things or people?
Luke indicated that Jesus continued with this parable story. He said that when this woman had found the lost drachma (καὶ εὑροῦσα), she would call together (συνκαλεῖ) her friends (τὰς φίλας) and her neighbors (καὶ γείτονας). She would say to them (λέγουσα) that they should rejoice with her (Συνχάρητέ μοι) because she had found her lost coin (ὅτι εὗρον τὴν δραχμὴν ἣν ἀπώλεσα). This is almost word for word the same as the celebration at the finding of the lost sheep. There the shepherd called together (συνκαλεῖ) his friends (τοὺς φίλους) and neighbors (καὶ τοὺς γείτονας). He said to them (λέγων αὐτοῖς) to come rejoice with him (Συνχάρητέ μοι) because he had found his lost sheep (ὅτι εὗρον τὸ πρόβατόν μου τὸ ἀπολωλός). Search diligently until you find it. Then rejoice over your good fortune in finding it with friends and neighbors. Have you ever celebrated when you found something that was lost?
Luke indicated that Jesus questioned them whether anyone of them (Τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν) who had 100 sheep (ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα), but lost one of them (καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἓν), would then not leave the 99 in the open field wilderness (οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ)? He would go after the one that was lost (καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς), until he found it (ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό). This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:12, with some minor changes, perhaps a Q source. Matthew indicated that Jesus said that this person, man, or shepherd had 100 sheep (ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα). One of these sheep wandered away from the rest of them and was lost (καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν). Thus, would he not leave the other 99 sheep in the mountains (οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη)? He would then search for the lost sheep that had wandered away (καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον). This was a simple question. Would you leave 99 sheep to search for one lost sheep?
Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that there was need of only one thing (ὀλίγων δέ ἐστιν χρεία ἢ ἑνός). Mary had chosen the better part (Μαριὰμ γὰρ τὴν ἀγαθὴν μερίδα ἐξελέξατο), in listening. This would not be taken away from her (ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται αὐτῆς). Jesus was clear, being a listening disciple was better than running around serving people. Listening was important. Household duties can wait. Martha, the welcoming lady, lost out to her listening sister, Mary. Quit complaining. Just do the work and listen to Jesus. Do you prefer to work or listen?
Luke indicated that Jesus said that no one puts new wine (καὶ οὐδεὶς βάλλει οἶνον νέον) into old wineskins (εἰς ἀσκοὺς παλαιούς). Otherwise (εἰ δὲ μήγε), the new wine will burst the wineskins (ῥήξει ὁ οἶνος ὁ νέος τοὺς ἀσκούς). The wine will be spilled (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκχυθήσεται). The skins will be destroyed (καὶ οἱ ἀσκοὶ ἀπολοῦνται). Mark, chapter 2:22, and Matthew, chapter 9:17, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about wineskins. Mark and Matthew had Jesus continue with his metaphors or parables. No one would pour new wine into old wineskins or leather pouches, because the pouches would crack. Thus, the old wineskins would burst open. The new wine would be spilled, lost, or destroyed, as well as the wine containers themselves.
This saying of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 5:13, and Luke, chapter 14:34. Salt was important not just as a spice and preservative but it represented wisdom and purity in the ancient world and Judaism. Mark indicated that Jesus said that salt was good (καλὸν τὸ ἅλας). However, if the salt has lost its taste or saltiness (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται), if it is insipid, how can the taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε)? How can you season the salt? Jesus then turned to his followers. He told them that they should have salt within themselves (ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα), not exactly salt of the earth but close enough. They should be at peace with one another (καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις). There was no indication here about throwing salt away because it had become useless as in Matthew and Luke. Salt would bring about brotherly peace or love.
Something similar can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:26, Luke, chapter 9:25, and here, almost word for word. Mark indicated that Jesus asked what was the profit or benefit for a person (τί γὰρ ὠφελεῖ ἄνθρωπον) to gain the whole world (κερδῆσαι τὸν κόσμον ὅλον) if they lost their life or soul (καὶ ζημιωθῆναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ)? What will a person give up in exchange for his life or soul (τί γὰρ δοῖ ἄνθρωπος ἀντάλλαγμα τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ)? Give up your life to Jesus, and you will live.
Luke, chapter 5:37-38, and Matthew, chapter 9:17, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about wine skins. Luke also had a more elaborate explanation. Mark has Jesus continue with his metaphors or parables. No one pours new wine (καὶ οὐδεὶς βάλλει οἶνον νέον) into old wine skins or leather pouches (εἰς ἀσκοὺς παλαιούς), because they would crack. The old wine skins would burst open (εἰ δὲ μή, ῥήξει ὁ οἶνος τοὺς ἀσκούς). The new wine would be spilled, lost, or destroyed (καὶ ὁ οἶνος ἀπόλλυται) as well as the wine skins (καὶ οἱ ἀσκοὶ). New wine should be poured (ἀλλὰ οἶνον νέον) into fresh or new wine skin leather pouches (εἰς ἀσκοὺς καινούς). Do not mix up the new with the old.
This explanation of the lost sheep parable can also be found in Luke, chapter 15:7, with some minor changes, as Luke has this lost sheep as a repentant sinner. Jesus explained that it was not the will of his heavenly Father (οὕτως οὐκ ἔστιν θέλημα ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς) that these little ones should be lost or perish (ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μικρῶν τούτων). Thus, this was the simple straightforward explanation. The heavenly Father did not want to lose anyone, just like the good shepherd did not want to lose one of his lost sheep.
Textual criticism is the study of the variants in the original Hebrew or Greek texts. This textual criticism attempts to establish the original wording of the biblical texts. There is an attempt to establish the possible formation and transmission of the texts themselves. All the original manuscripts of the Bible have been lost. Thus, the goal of textual criticism is to recover the best critical text possible, given the circumstances of today. Most modern translations are based on various Hebrew and Greek critical texts. These ancient texts were copied by hand with some possible human errors. Many kinds of copying errors have been categorized and classified. Textual criticism is known as lower criticism, because it is the foundation for all of the other kinds of critical study.