Parable of the Lost or Prodigal Son: If you are new to this series, we are analyzing 39 parables from the teachings of Jesus. Through this series, we will take each one and break it down to make it easier to understand its meaning. Just a note, Jesus was divine and had infinite knowledge. We do not presume that this is the only interpretation of this parable, but it is ours, and we hope it helps.
Parable of the Lost or Prodigal Son –
Luke 15: 11-32 NIV
Jesus tells us a story about a father with two sons. Both had grown up in a Godly home but one had become restless and was tempted by worldly things. The first son asks his father for his inheritance early so he can go indulge his worldly desires, and in doing so, turns his back on God. We can call this son the lost son. The other son remains with his father and continues to work and stays faithful to God. We can call this son the faithful son.
No one likes to be wrong so when the lost son spends all of his inheritance and begins to feel the pressure of being broke and a famine that has hit the land, he began to think of home. Everything worldly that he desired, turned its back on him and he found himself in a low position, working to survive, but his pride prevented him from admitting he had sinned against his father and the Heavens.
Finally, hunger got the better of him and he decided to go home and work for his father because he was sure that even his servants had plenty. At that moment, a transition came upon him. His pride was gone and he was no longer the lost son, but a humble son to his father. He returned in a state of not feeling worthy to be called his son.
His father recognized the change and saw that his son had humbly returned and he was filled with joy. His son was no longer lost to the world. He had been saved and it was time to celebrate.
His faithful son returning from the fields, grew angry that his brother was getting so much attention after being so bad. His father explains to him that it is right to celebrate. He tells the faithful son that everything that he owns belongs to him but his lost son has been found and is alive again.
Other Parable References
Jesus sets this parable up by saying in Matthew 9:12 NIV that “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” knowing that He is about to tell this story. He also talks in Luke 15:3-7 about the 100 sheep and one being lost. He leaves the 99 to find it, and when he does, he rejoices for it is right to celebrate when one is lost and then they are found.
The lost sheep’s and the lost son’s return is celebrated because they are both very precious to their keepers. Many of us are in the same state. We have turned away from God. Separation from the father or the shepherd does not make you lost forever. They are both waiting or actively seeking you to return. They want you back so bad, it does not matter what you have done or where you have gone. Return repentant and humble and you will be welcomed with open arms.
In the case of the lost son… You can never out-sin God the Father’s forgiveness. God will never stop waiting on your return because He is very patient. And when you do return, there is a celebration in Heaven beyond imagination. Unlike the faithful son’s rebuke that you have returned, Christians everywhere will celebrate with you.