Prodigal Son


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The Parable of the Prodigal Son

    There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate." So he divided his property between them.

    Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

    When he came to his senses, he said, "How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men." So he got up and went to his father.

    But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

    The son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

    But the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." So they began to celebrate.

    Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. "Your brother has come," he replied, "and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound."

    The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, "Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!"

    "My son," the father said, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." -- Luke 15:11-32

This is one of the most interesting of the Lord's parables. Reading it, one cannot help but be affected by the felicity of its descriptions, and the tenderness and compassion that this father shows for his wayward son. Yet, it's hard not to empathize with the feelings of the older son.

But let's look at the prodigal son.

His circumstances of honor and happiness

  • Father's house
    • Paternal affection
    • Birthright
  • Man's original state: upright, innocent, happy
    • God, his father
    • Eden, his home
    • Earth, his domain
    • Angels, his companions
    • Bliss, his birthright

His arrogance

  • What did he really want?
    • Free of parental restraints
    • Self sufficient
  • Compare to Adam & Eve

His wanderings

  • Goes to a foreign land
  • Compare to sin being the soul's moral departure from God
    • Gradual and insidious
      • Adam & Eve
        • Gazed upon the forbidden tree
        • Then admired it
        • Then desired it
        • Listened to temptation
        • Ate of the fruit
    • Increasingly rapid
      • Habit of evil formed
      • Downward course
      • Self respect abandoned
      • Fear of God lost
    • Dangerous
      • Shame
      • Misery
      • Death

His misery

"After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country."

  • Bankrupt
  • Opportunities lost

His distress

Not only does he take a job feeding pigs, but he is envious of the pigs. Once too proud to be a son in his father's home, he is degraded and miserable in every way.

  • Sin degrades
  • Where are his former friends?

The older son

  • Compare to the parable of the workers in the vineyard
  • There is a lesson here that God wants us to learn

Application of the parable

  • Unable to depend on his former friends, he turns back to his father
  • Rather than rejecting him, his father welcomes him with honor

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