Name of Parable: The Prodigal Son
Passage: LUKE 15:11-32
Date: OCT 2020
Luke 15:11-32 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Prodigal Son
11 And He said, “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that is coming to me.’ And so he divided his wealth between them. 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his estate in wild living. 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began doing without. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he longed to have his fill of the carob pods that the pigs were eating, and no one was giving him anything. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired laborers have more than enough bread, but I am dying here from hunger! 18 I will set out and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired laborers.”’ 20 So he set out and came to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 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.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, slaughter it, and let’s eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you never gave me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”
- What circumstances led up to this teaching, if any? Jesus is seen by some Pharisees and scribes engaging with tax collectors and sinners. (Tax collectors and sinners were regarded as unclean and thereby unworthy) This leads to Jesus telling 3 parables, this one being the last of the 3. (The Lost Sheep – Luke 15:1-7 Matthew 18:12-14 & The Lost Coin – Luke15:8-10)
- Prepare a brief summary of the parable: by title this parable is generally thought to be focused on the younger/lost son, but after many teachings and readings on this parable it is clearly about the entire family. Each member playing a critical role. (11 And He said, “A man had two sons.) In summary, there is great rejoicing when what was lost becomes found.
- List any additional details given in parallel passages: There are no pure parallel passages, but it is very much worth reading all of chapter 15 of Luke.
Perhaps Matthew 18:11-14 would be the closest parallel.
- Does He give an interpretation? Not directly or in the following chapter or verses.
- What is the one central truth He is teaching? “This man receives sinners” (Lk 15:2) spurs the teaching of God not only receives them but chases down to find and save sinners and once found, oh what a celebration is held to rejoice in it.
- Is there something here for me to apply to my life? Yes, treasure things in heaven and not worldly things as both brothers in the parable did… and I am also guilty of. If so, how can I do it? Focus on the grace and mercy of our older Brother & Lord Jesus coming to not only find us, but to make the payment for the forgiveness of sins we so selfishly commit.
This parable like many were told intended to upset current paradigms, fathers roles, children roles, retaliation vs forgiveness.
Younger Son: Want fathers things, gets them, wastes them, leads to emptiness and nothing which results in “he came to his senses” or repentance.
Deuteronomy 21:17 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.
Older Son: Wants and actually gets the fathers things, Refuses to go in to the feast, on the greatest day of his fathers life…he doesn’t care. He wants the fathers things. the fattened calf. meat not a normal dish, a delicacy, very expensive and lavish…he is upset… He is very religious and obedient, a Pharisee.
Father: forgives them both, is tender and sweet, forgiving and cutting off the younger son before he can even offer to be a slave or hired hand. He calls for all the best to let the son know he is a son indeed.
Did anyone go after the lost son like the coin or the sheep?
Who would have been responsible for going after the son in culture of the times of this parable?