Found in the gospel of Luke 15:11-32, the Parable of the Lost son is a touching and well-remembered story of a father’s love for His wayward son.
Jesus used parables to illustrate a spiritual point and this parable along with the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin was said in response to the question by the Pharisees, “Why does Jesus sit with sinners and tax collectors.”
Jesus, here teaches us that God the father, loves each and every one of us and that HE longs to bring everyone into HIS kingdom. This parable teaches us that God loves us where we are at, we are never too lost that we cannot receive His forgiveness and grace. Our sin cannot overshadow His grace. Each life matters and that there is rejoicing and celebration over each person repenting and turning to Jesus.
We will look at this parable from three aspects:
The Rebellious Younger son
The Father and
The Older son
The breakdown of this scripture passage will be over two posts. In the first post we will look at the Rebellious younger son and in the second post we will look at the Father and the Older son.
The Rebellious son Luke 15:11-20a
The younger son in the story asks for his share of the inheritance, a pretty unusual request considering that a gift of inheritance is usually received when the father has passed on. The son was eager to live an independent and carefree life, free from familial responsibility and accountability.
He leaves home with his share and journeys to a distant country and lives a sinful and wasteful life and ends up squandering all the wealth that was given to him. In addition, with a famine in the land he was forced to work feeding pigs to sustain himself. He finds himself, hungry, lonely and miserable.
The younger son depicted selfish, uncaring, foolish and greedy behaviour. He did not realise the blessings he had while at his father’s house. He chose to distance himself from the father. His situation was the consequence of his choice.
- Let us find contentment and joy in the boundaries our heavenly father sets for us as they are for our good
- Let us not choose to distance ourselves from our Heavenly father for the sake of momentary and fleeting pleasures
- Let us always remember to be grateful for the many blessings our heavenly father bestows on us and never take them for granted
We live for something and for a purpose – Do we live like the younger son for ourselves and our own selfish purpose or is God the author and answer to our life and purpose.
We then read that the son comes to his senses, begins to reflect on his situation and remembers how good things were back at his father’s house. He decides to go back to his father and plead for forgiveness.
Let’s look at this for a moment:
- The prodigal son shows true repentance and humility – we see that he was hoping to return and work as a hired hand for his father with no hopes of reclaiming his rights as a son. Acts 3:19 says “Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out.” What an incredible promise that is made possible by the work of Jesus on the cross.
- God sees the heart of the person. Verse 18 says “Father I have sinned against heaven and against you”, this shows an acceptance of his mistakes. He did not try to excuse his mistakes by saying maybe if you treated me differently, I would not have left in the first place or Why on earth did you even let me go. An acceptance of one’s own sins is a crucial step in our faith Journey.
- His focus was on returning to the father. When we falter, first and foremost seek the lord and his forgiveness and the rest shall come later.
The prodigal son teaches us the importance of not just thinking about repentance but making the journey towards restoration with his father.
The prodigal son had made a series of decisions that separated him from his father, he found himself with no money, no friends and no family because he turned his back on them, but he did not allow pride, guilt, shame or stubbornness push him further away but he chose to turn back.
What is making it hard for you to turn back from your broken place and return home to Jesus?
Each one of us has the choice to come home.
It is never too late to turn to our heavenly father and it is never too late to mend broken relationships.
The second part of this Parable study will be in tomorrows post.