Who is the Real Prodigal in this Parable?
Tradition assigned the title “prodigal” to the son, but it more rightly describes the Father.
The definition of prodigal: Extravagant, exceedingly lavish, and unrestrained.
A Portrait of the Father’s Prodigal Love: Our Prodigal Father joyfully restores returning prodigals.
- Our prodigal Father is generous (v.11,12). Why would the son want to leave such a father?
- Our prodigal Father releases us into the far country if we choose to leave (v.13).
Did the son know that he broke his father’s heart? Do we know when we break God’s heart?
- Our prodigal Father does not shield us from the harsh realities of life in the far country (vv.14-16).
- Our prodigal Father waits for us to return (vv.17-21). Why does he wait?
Recognize our need.
Repent of our sin.
- Our prodigal Father joyfully welcomes and restores us (vv.20-22).
- Our prodigal Father gives us tangible emblems of His love (vv.22-23a).
Explain the significance of these symbols
- The best robe – a sign of distinction
- Ring – a sign of authority
- Sandals – a sign of sonship/freedom
- Our prodigal Father invites His whole household to share in His celebration (vv.23b-24). Reason for celebration: “My son was dead and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
- Are you at home with the Father or are you still living in the far country?
- Do you share Jesus’ love and concern for lost people? Do the things that break God’s heart break yours? Do the things that bring Him joy thrill you?
- What are you doing to reach others who don’t yet know the Father? Jesus seldom called people sinners. He called them lost.
Lost like sheep who due to carelessness and heedlessness have lost their way.
Lost like coins who due to the influence of others have become lost.
Lost like prodigals who because of calculated self-will have become lost and destitute.
(If I remember correctly, this simple outline of Luke 15:11-32 comes mainly from Lloyd John Ogilvie.)