The Parable of the other Prodigal Son

Read Luke 15:11-32. Meditate on this scripture passage for 20 minutes and ask yourself: What is the main idea? What are good questions to ask? How can I apply this story to my life?

Main Idea (s)

1. The story of the Prodigal Son is in a series with two other like-minded parables, the lost sheep and the lost coin. All three stories pertain to the idea of losing something valuable and then rejoicing when it is found. Theological point: Sinners who reject God are lost, but when they turn from their evil ways and seek reconciliation with the Lord, they are found. This results in much rejoicing in heaven.

2. Contrary to popular belief, the main point of the parable is not about the prodigal son, but the older brother’s sinful reaction to the Father’s forgiveness. How do you know that? In the beginning of chapter 15, the Pharisees were grumbling, saying “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable. Therefore, the parable is directed towards the Pharisees. 

If you analyze the story more closely, you will notice that the three main characters are: The Father, the younger brother, and the older brother. The Father symbolizes God in his loving attitude towards the lost. The younger brother illustrates the lost tax collectors and sinners who need to repent and come to the Lord. The older brother exemplifies the self-righteous Pharisees and religious leaders who think they can earn God’s favor. In the end, God is telling both the Pharisees and the sinners that they are not saved by their works, but only by the mercy and grace of God.

Questions to Ask 

  1. What does the younger brother do with the money? Where does he go, what does he do?
  2. How does the Father treat the younger son? older son? How was it the same and different?
  3. Why does the older brother get angry with the Father? Do you think it was justified?
  4. Which son do you relate to more? How does it change your perspective of the parable? 

Personal Application 

The way the Father responds to the Son, with grace and love, is the same attitude we should express towards repentant sinners. Secondly, the story is a good reminder that our salvation does not depend on what we do, but who we know. It’s liberating to know that God’s love is unconditional. Lastly, when an unbeliever gets saved, you should not be jealous that they are treated the same way, even if you served the Lord for many years.   

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