The Prodigal Son explained? The parable of the Prodigal Son, or Lost Son, is found in the New Testament of the Bible in Luke 15:11-32. It is the third of three parables in that chapter directed at a mixed audience of tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees (religious leaders), and teachers of the law. All three parables are on the topic of lost things being found: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Likewise, all three parables point to the heavenly joy over every sinner who repents from sin and turns to Jesus.
Sometimes important principles are repeated in the Bible for emphasis. Such was the case when Jesus three times implored Peter to feed His sheep (John 21:17). In response to the chiding from the Pharisees and scribes recorded in Luke 15:1-2, Jesus spoke three parables that emphasized His response.
In the Gospel of Luke 15:11-32, we are told of a wealthy man who had two sons. The younger son gets up one morning and decides to leave home and go about himself. He asks for and gets his inheritance from his father and he heads off to a strange land. Since he had so much money and possessions, he begins to lavish his substance on vanities – without thinking of his future. He had wine, women, and other pleasures whenever he wanted. Eventually, his profuse and wasteful expenditure costs him all his inherited fortune.
What isn’t commonly understood: God wants us to repent Many people read right over the response God wants us to have to this parable. Throughout the Bible we see that God desires for us to repent and be reconciled to Him. He “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), and in Luke 15 this point is emphasized through a progression of three parables, the third being the one about the prodigal son.
After being hit by difficult living conditions – owing to his foolishness – he decides to humble himself and return home to his father. Instead of being rejected by his father, he gets a warm welcome with gifts and celebration. This gets his big brother crossed and starts a quarrel with his father. His father placates him and reassures him that all that he has belongs to him. Come along with me as we, together, learn the rich lessons in this parable. I divided it into four parts for a much easier understanding. Please do well to open your Bible and read the entire story (Luke 15:11-32). See more info on the The Prodigal Son video on YouTube.
We think we know better. We squander the grace of God and trade it in for worthless treasure. And yet, at the point that we realize that we are unworthy, living like pigs, sinners, rebels, in need, destitute, hungry, dirty, and empty, so much so that it compels us to run back into the arms of Grace, we will be saved. For it is by grace that we are saved, and all the sinners and tax collectors and prodigals say, “Amen!” “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).