This article presents a social-scientific and realistic interpretation of the parable of the lost
sheep (Lk 15:4–6). Attention is given to the history of the interpretation of the parable, its
integrity and authenticity, and verisimilitude. It is argued that the Lukan-version (Q 15:4–6)
of the parable represents the earliest layer of the historical Jesus-tradition. Specific attention
is given to the social and economic registers presupposed in the parable, as well as certain
cultural norms and values of the first-century Mediterranean world in which Jesus told the
parable. The conclusion reached is that the parable exemplifies several aspects of the kingdom
of God, aspects that are also present in several other parables that Jesus told about the kingdom.