The Parable of the Prodigal Son
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to[a] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[b] 22 But the father said to his servants,[c] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” Luke 15:11-32 ESV
There are many teachings that can be expounded from this parable. There are many interactions that could be examined and looked into in depth.
The prodigal son is an example of each one of us at various times. We all want to ‘take our ball and go play OUR game..’ Obviously, the Father is God the Father and his reaction to the prodigal son and to the son that stayed behind and was faithful was quite eye opening. But this is nothing that isn’t taught elsewhere in the Scriptures. Then there is the faithful son.. what a piece of work. Imagine getting his nose out of joint because someone else was getting honored.. promoted, blessed, won, . Oh, wait, is that sort of like we are some times? Petty? wonder. One thing for sure, God doesn’t have to wonder.. Then what about the servant carrying the tale? Maybe he should have said, ‘Go ask your Father for an explanation…’ rather than wag his tongue about something he really didn’t know anything about?
Then there is the concern over ‘The fatted calf’. As if it were the only one ever.. not like they couldn’t fatten up another one.. What we learn is to be thankful for what we have, not envious of what others have. But this is what the 10 Commandments are all about. Jesus said when asked what is the ‘greatest’ commandment, he said there were 2. Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind and soul… and Love thy neighbor as thyself.. What Jesus is saying is ‘Don’t sin against God and Don’t sin against other people’ and you have kept all 10 commandments.
The Scripture also teaches us that if we do sin against God and other people, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin.. but like the Prodigal, we must acknowledge what we did wrong, come with all humility and ask forgiveness.
It is God who will restore us to the proper place, where it be killing the fatted calf or the robe or crown, or merely giving us the peace to know we are walking with Him in His words and deeds.. After all, isn’t’ that better than a fatted calf and a robe and a heavy old gold crown?
Father, forgive use our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us