The Parable of the Prodigal Son

The Story:

A father has two sons and divides his property between them. The youngest son goes off into another country and spends everything that he owns. A famine occurs in the country leaving the youngest son to be poor and hungry. He decides to work for a citizen of the country by feeding pigs.

After getting fed up with his job, he realizes that his father would have food to spare. The youngest son plans to return home, admit his sin, and ask to work for his father. Before he reaches home, his father comes running at him with open arms. His father kisses him and is so excited to see him.

The youngest son proceeds to tell his father that he has sinned and doesn’t deserve to be called his son. With no anger whatsoever, the father gets his son clothes and shoes and then prepares a feast to celebrate his return.

The oldest son, who had been obedient to his father for many years, hears about this celebration and becomes angry. After his father pleads for him to join the celebration, the oldest son explains how it isn’t fair that his youngest brother gets a feast after being irresponsible and disobedient, yet he gets nothing for doing whatever his father asks of him.

The father reminds his oldest son that whatever the father has is his too. The father explains how it is important to celebrate the youngest son’s return because he was “dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:11-32).

 

The Message:

The overall message of the story is to show God’s love towards his children no matter the mistakes that they have made. The father in the story symbolizes God, the youngest son symbolizes a believer who has recognized his sin, and the oldest son symbolizes a righteous follower of Christ.

 At the beginning of the story, the father provides his youngest son with whatever he needs. In our lives, God always provides us with all that we need to do his will. He has blessed us with way more than we could ever need or deserve. Just like the youngest son, we tend to misuse the opportunities and goods that God gives us.

Just like we do all the time, the youngest son sins by blowing his money. The important part is that he recognizes his sin and wants to repent. Sinning is inevitable since we are not perfect. We are going to make mistakes, but we must recognize our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and repent, just like the youngest son does.

In this story, we see how the father welcomes his son home with open arms. God does the same for us. Even though we mess up, he is so happy to see that we have come back to him. God wants as many people in his family as possible, so coming back to him after falling off track is a moment to be celebrated.

Just like the oldest son, it is common for other believers to get jealous that another person is being blessed even after being disobedient to Christ. In the story, the father reminds his oldest son of two things: everything that belongs to the father also belongs to the oldest son, and that he should be happy that his younger brother has repented and returned home. It is easy to get caught up in a self-centered mindset, but God reassures us that we have all we need in him. God is also saying that we should be overjoyed when people find their way back to the Lord. Getting more people to receive salvation most important, so this story also reminds us to be excited when our brothers and sisters are reconciled to Christ.

Overall this story teaches us about the character of God. The Lord provides us with all that we need, welcomes us back regardless of our mistakes, and wants as many people in the Kingdom of Heaven as possible!