Jesus chose to teach with parables for several perfect reasons. At times, He was trying to explain a new or challenging principle; at other times, He was trying to carefully reveal teachings only to his disciples (Matthew 13:13-15). Jesus also chose to teach with parables to defend Himself from false accusations.
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus responds to being accused of sinfully associating with openly sinful people. Jesus interacted with sinners throughout His ministry, but He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). To explain and defend His actions, Jesus taught using three similar parables.
He told of the lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7). Jesus reminded His accusers of how even they would rejoice in finding one of their sheep who had been lost. This was to explain how important every soul is to God.
He told of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). Jesus described how diligently a woman would search for something of value. She would search her house from top to bottom for what was lost and rejoice with her friends once it was found. This was to explain how precious and sought-after every soul is to God.
He told of the lost son (Luke 15:11-32). In this parable of The Prodigal Son, Jesus perfectly painted a picture of a sinfully rebellious son who eventually returned to a forgiving father. With this parable, He described the loving arms of God, which are extended even to sinners.
With each of these perfect parables, Jesus taught and defended His loving decision to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).