The story of the hirelings

Luke 15:17 - And having come to himself, he said, How many hirelings of my father have a superabundance of bread, and I here with hunger am perishing! (YLT)

Lost and Found

Luke chapter 15 is a chapter of ‘lost and found’
Jesus says three parables with the theme of lost and found

1.      Parable of the lost sheep
2.      Parable of the lost coin
3.      Parable of the lost son

Jesus was explaining why he is rejoicing with sinners.
He equates the gathering to a group of ‘lost and found’
Jesus was trying to communicate the joy in heaven when a lost is found

To illustrate the situation He tells three parables

The three parables
Luke 15

The first parable is about the lost and found sheep
The second is about the lost and found drachma
The third is about the lost and found son

Why Jesus said three parables consecutively to explain one event, the joy of lost and found in heaven?
Certainly it was because Jesus was not satisfied with one in communicating the truth he intended to say.
One parable could not contain the lost and found event in the Kingdom of God.

The parable of the drachma is about a non living thing that the mistress missed
The parable of the lost and found sheep is about a living animal
The parable of lost and found son is about human being

Drachma is not purposefully lost
The mistress just missed it, though she had been careful about

The sheep was not intentionally going away from the shepherd
The sheep by its nature is attracted by green pastures
It wandered along the pasture and unwittingly fell into rocks

The son purposefully, intentionally and consciously ran away from his father

The mistress searched for the drachma everywhere in her house to find it
It can never come back by itself

The shepherded went in search of the lost sheep, till he found it
It too cannot come back

The father did not go in search of his lost son
Only the good news of welcome, prosperity and protection was announced to him by the Holy Spirit
Man has the free will to accept or deny – to come back or get lost.

All parables are about the:
Right relationship
Lost relationship
Restoring the relationship

The story of the hirelings
Luke 15: 11 –32

The third one is the known as the story of the prodigal son

This is the story of a:

1.      Father
2.      First son
3.      Second son

There are two minor character groups in this story

1.      Slaves – they are commanded by the father to

“Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! And bring the fattened calf—kill it”(22,23)

The joy of the reunion was first announced to them and the celebration began with them.

“let us eat and celebrate, because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. " (23,24)

2.      Hired workers –A person who works purely for material reward. The son in his deepest distress refers to their status in his Father’ house.

Luke 15:17 - And having come to himself, he said, How many hirelings of my father have a superabundance of bread, and I here with hunger am perishing! (YLT)

The Kingdom

The father’s house is an illustration of the Kingdom of God

Family is the smallest unit of God’s Kingdom
The father, the mother and children should reflect the relationship between the heavenly King and His citizens in this world.

House of the father


First son            Second son

Slaves            Hirelings

The Kingdom


Citizens (at different status)

The Kingdom on this earth contains the father, the elder son and the younger son.
It may contain groups in the status of slaves and hired workers.
The Kingdom on earth contains a mixed community of people with different spiritual status.
All have a chance to enjoy the richness of the Father's House.

The relationship

The story is about their relationship with the father and the privileges they enjoy.

The relationship with the Father may be tabled as follows:

1.      The elder son – sonship and inheritance
Lives in his Father's House
Knows and respects the authority of his father
He lived a righteous life as per rules.
But fails to realise and his privileges – he was not leading a Kingdom living
Hence leads a sad, dismal life.

2.      The younger son – sonship and inheritance
Later he opted out of the house of the Father's house
He fell into poverty outside the Father’s house
Still he came back to the Father's House.

3.      The slaves – lives in the Father's House.
The Father must have been a good master
If so they enjoyed a comfortable life there
The master takes care of all their spiritual, physical and material needs.

4.      The hired servants - They are workers hired for daily wages
They have no better commitment than to do the work they are called for the day.
They usually do not stay permanently in the house.
Still they enjoyed the richness in the Fathers House.

Sad inheritors

The elder son                          The younger son

Happy servants

The slaves                               The hirelings

The story is all about ….

1.      Joy in the Father’s house and enjoyment in the gentile world
2.      Richness in the father's house and poverty in the gentle world
3.      The importance of being in the father's house
4.      The importance of the right relationship with the father

Why the two sons lived unhappy

The elder son has sonship
He is heir to his father
He knows theology and all intrinsic explanations
Still he failed to enjoy the richness of his father's house

The prosperity of his father's house is rightful inheritance. But he unwittingly rejects it.
He lives in poverty in the midst of prosperity.

So he is complaining, grumbling and unhappy.
Nothing is withheld from him, but he enjoys nothing.

Kingdom living is a mindset
It is thinking like a king, speaking like a king and living as a king.

The younger son – as we all know left the Father’s house
He rejected the joy and protection of his father's house
Hence he lived a miserable life.

What made the hirelings happy?

Hirelings are below the status of slaves
They are working for their daily wages
Their relationship with the father is very simple
There is no deep theology explaining it
No allegorical interpretation- no expository explanation – no apocalyptic interpretation
They simply know that Father's house is rich and they enjoy the richness
The enjoyed the prosperity and protection of the father's house

Joy and protection in the Father's house is an invariable fact.
Joy and protection are inseparable ingredients of the house
Without them exists no Father's house

In the Father's house there is plenty

Psalms 118. 15 - The sound of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
the right hand of Yahweh has done valiantly.

In the Father's house there is joy and protection
There are shouts of victory
It is always celebration of victory


1.      Live always in the father's house
2.      Enjoy the prosperity and protection in the father's house –by accepting your rightful position in the house.


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