Jesus taught the parables so we would learn important truths and principles. Have we learned all there is to learn from them?
In this study we will take a closer look at this parable.
I will use Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.
Please turn in your bibles to Luke 15:
Luke 15:11 And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons;
Luke 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them.
As we begin to read this parable, we can learn some things:
1. A man had two sons
2. The younger son was a legitimate son, who was loved by his father.
We know that this son was legitimate, because this younger son was able to go to his father and make this substantial request. The son knew that only the father could grant such a request. So we know that the son was a true heir of his father.
We know this son was loved by his father, because the father honored his request to be given this share of the inheritance. We do not know if the father was pleased with his son’s request, but we do know he granted it.
We also know that according to Scripture, the oldest son was to receive a double portion of the inheritance. We could assume then, that since there were two sons, the younger would receive one third of the fathers’ wealth.
We also see that the father also gave the older son his share in the inheritance at the same time.
This parable is packed with information isn’t it? I am amazed at how much Jesus could tell us with so few words!
Let’s go on:
Luke 15:13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.
We can learn a little more now:
1. The son thinks he no longer needs his father.
2. The son begins to disrespect his father and the lifestyle that his father commands over his family.
We see that the younger son, who now has what seems to him to be all that he will ever need, wants to do things his own way.
This son is no longer content to be subject to his father, and he chooses to leave with all his possessions.
The son not only leaves his father, but he goes into a distant country, perhaps because his father has no influence in that country and he can live as he likes. The son has arrived!
Rejecting the guidelines and restraint of his father, the son lives in a luxurious fashion, spending his wealth freely. He willingly leaves behind all that he has learned from his father.
After all, who needs all those old rules! That lifestyle was old fashioned and silly, living as though he was poor… but no longer!
Luke 15:14 And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want.
The son hadn’t considered one thing… things change.
He spent all he had, much quicker than he ever thought possible. He had not kept an eye on his resources. Well, he had never had to do that when he was in his father’s care, right? His father watched out for him and met his daily needs. The son had taken all that his father had done for him, for granted.
Without his father to watch over him, he would really have to be smart. Maybe live off of some other people’s wealth! After all, he had spent his money freely and they would surely treat him as their own.
The son hadn’t considered something else… things CHANGE.
The problem... a famine came into the land. Instead of the people around him having plenty and sharing with him, the people tightened their own purse strings.
This couldn’t be happening!
Luke 15:15 So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs.
Luke 15:16 And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better].
The younger son now begins to act in desperation. His plans had all fallen through. Instead of a life of luxury, he now was feeding hogs in the field. A citizen had recognized that this young man was in no position to bargain, so he now had a servant to feed his hogs.
Do you see? The son had nothing to eat, except the hog food. No one was willing to share more with him. He was starving. His hunger couldn’t be satisfied.
The choices this son had made, results in a lifestyle that now threatens his life. How could things get so bad?
Luke 15:17 Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger!
Luke 15:18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.
Luke 15:19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.
We find a few more things to learn now:
1. When circumstances reached a critical point in the son’s life,
things began to come into focus.
2. Now faced with death from starvation, he realizes the value
of his father’s wisdom and prudence.
3. Pride is now turning to humility.
The choices he made previously, have brought this son to a dead end. Once wise in his own conceits, he now sees the folly of his arrogance.
The desires that drove this son to reject his father’s values now seem unimportant in the light of reality.
Now faced with the reality of his current course of direction, he turns to the only source he knows has been good to him. He is worse from the wear, but wiser.
Luke 15:20 So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].
The son hadn’t considered something else… there is something that will never change.
The son had completely missed how great the father’s love for him really was.
1. The father loved him enough to give him the freedom to
choose what he wanted.
2. The father knew the folly of his son’s choices, and patiently
waited for the day when his son would realize it.
3. The father’s love was great, and he watched for his son’s
4. The father welcomed his son home with joy, extending pity
and tenderness to him instead of anger and judgments.
The son was not yet aware of all these facets of his father’s love. He had planned to throw himself at his father’s mercy and beg for the privilege of becoming a hired hand at his fathers’ house.
Luke 15:21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]!
The son had gained much wisdom and confesses his failings to his father.
He humbles himself in his fathers’ sight and admits that he has sinned. He can not bring himself to even think that his father would love him enough to receive him back into his house.
Luke 15:22 But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet.
Luke 15:23 And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry,
Luke 15:24 Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry.
Question - Can you imagine the son’s amazement now?
Instead of finding a grudging permission from an angry father, to work in the fields for a laborers wage, he finds a welcome beyond his dreams:
- He receives a new robe to wear to replace his filthy garments.
- He receives a valuable ring for his hand, and new sandals for his
- He receives the joy of his father, his fathers’ servants waiting on him
as though he has been restored as an heir, and a feast thrown in his
Question - Did this son deserve the treatment he now receives?
This parable goes on a little more, but perhaps we can learn important truths from what we have already seen.
Question – Do you see what the message of this parable is saying to you and I today?
Are we not the prodigal son?
Is not the father, our Father in heaven?
We make choices based on our own wisdom and knowledge, and we reap the results from those choices.
We refuse to consider that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us, and we look away from His teachings.
We know what is good for us, right? That bible was written so long ago, and how could it apply to today’s circumstances?
We find ourselves in a mess, because of our shortsighted decisions, and realize it is God who we have sinned against. How could He ever forgive us for what we did, so we try to fix things ourselves.
Now we are in a worse mess than before. Realization sets in that, only God can get us out of this situation. Truth has proven itself to us.
We decide to go to God and bargain with Him, hoping that His anger will be less than horrible. We know in our hearts that what we deserve is imminent – we can’t avoid it any longer.
We come before His throne and confess our sins to Him in humility.
This IS true repentance… this IS what is required of each of us before GOD… our Father.
Question - What do we find when we do repent?
HE runs to meet us… eagerly receiving us back… embracing us!
Beloved, do not continue to go through this cycle of - stubborn self rule, disappointment, being humbled and then desperation - any longer.
Let us draw near to God with sincere hearts. He will welcome us home and once more provide for us, love us and help us to live life more abundantly.
It’s not too late… HE is patiently waiting for us. Right now is the acceptable time.
Come home to the joy of our Heavenly Father today. If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you are an heir, and greatly loved. You belong.
Thank you for allowing me to share with you in this study. God bless each of you as you meditate on the goodness of our Father in heaven. May the Holy Spirit soften our hearts and draw us near this very day.
Bible Study by InAwe