Main point summary
The Lord teaches forgiveness and acceptance for the repentant sinner. But warns the self-righteous of their rejection of the Father.
Then He said:
“A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father,
‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. ’
So he divided to them * his livelihood.
And not many days after,
the younger son gathered all together,
journeyed to a far country,
and there wasted his possessions
with prodigal living.
But when he had spent all,
there arose a severe famine in that land,
and he began to be in want.
Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country,
and he sent him into his fields
to feed swine.
And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate,
and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said,
‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare,
and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father,
and will say to him,
“Father, * I have sinned against heaven and before you,
and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’
“And he arose and came to his father.
But * when he was still a great way off,
his father saw him
and had compassion,
and fell on his neck
and kissed him.
And the son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven * and in your sight,
and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants,
‘Bring out the best robe
and put it on him,
and put a ring on his hand
and sandals on his feet.
And bring the fatted calf here and kill it,
and let us eat and be merry;
* for this my son was dead
and is alive again;
he was lost
and is found.’
And they began to be merry.
“Now his older son was in the field.
And as he came and drew near to the house,
he heard music and dancing.
So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
And he said to him,
‘Your brother has come,
and because he has received him safe and sound,
your father has killed the fatted calf.’
“But he was angry
and would not go in.
Therefore his father came out
and pleaded with him.
So he answered and said to his father,
‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you;
I never transgressed your commandment at any time;
and yet you never gave me a young goat,
that I might make merry with my friends.
But as soon as this son of yours came,
who has devoured your livelihood with harlots,
you killed the fatted calf for him.’
“And he said to him,
‘Son, you are always with me,
and all that I have is yours.
It was right that we should make merry and be glad,
* for your brother was dead
and is alive again,
and was lost
and is found.’ ”
THE PASSAGE The parable of the lost son is mention only in Luke. In this passage, the Lord is responding to the complained of the Pharisees and scribes, because the Lord received sinners and ate with them ( Lu 15:1-2 ). The main point is that the Lord rejoices about sinners who come to repentance, but is also a gracious warning to the religious who reject the father. THE CONTEXT What is the historical and cultural context? To ran for a man was not an honorable thing to do. To kill the fatted calf was only for a very special occasion like a marriage of the older son. Preceding the parable of the Lost Son, the Lord gives the parable of the Lost Sheep and the parable of the Lost Coin. These parables speak all about the younger son (the repentant sinner) who was lost and is found and ends with a warning to the self-righteous older son (the Pharisees and scribes). Following the parable of the Lost Son, the Lord teaches the disciples the parable of the Unjust Steward. The Pharisees heard that teaching and scoffed the Lord because they were lovers of money. THE PROBLEM The problem is the Pharisees and scribes self-righteousness and condemnation of others ( Luk 15:1-2 ). The question the Lord is dealing with is how God sees, feels, and acts towards sinners. THE PROGRESSION The progression is biographical. The main characters are the father and his two sons. Side characters are: - A citizen of the far country - Servants of the father - Friends of the older son THE PRESENTATION The loving and forgiving Father: 1) Granted the request of the younger son and divided 1/3 of the livelihood for the younger son ( Deut 21:17 ). 2/3 were for the firstborn. 2) The father saw the younger son returning, had compassion, ran, fell on his neck, and kissed him. a) The loving and forgiving heart of the Father. 3) The Father commanded His servants to a) Put on Him the best robe. b) Put a ring on his hand. c) Put sandals on his feet. d) Kill the fatted calf i) To eat and be merry ii) Why? Lost – Found. Dead – Alive. 4) Came out to the older son and pleaded with him a) Assuring His love for the son in reminding him that: i) He is always with the Father ii) All the father has is the older sons b) Gives the reason why it was right to be glad about the return of the younger son i) Dead – Alive. Lost – Found. The younger son: 1) Asked the father for his portion (inheritance) 2) Journeyed to a far country 3) Wasted his possession with prodigal living 4) Began to be in want when a famine set in 5) Feed swine for a citizen of that country a) Desired the swine’s food but was denied to have it 6) Repentance, He came to himself a) The Fathers abundance b) His own lack c) Humility to go to the father and state the obvious i) He sinned ii) He is not worthy iii) His request The older son: 1) Was angry and wound not go into the house when he heard of what happened 2) Son's disrespectful to the father: a) He served many years b) Never transgressed his commandment any time c) Never got a young goat to celebrate with friends d) Envy of the fathers graciousness toward the younger son i) Younger son devoured the fathers livelihood ii) The father killed the fatted calf for him THE POINT 1) The love and forgiveness of the Father – Christ 2) The selfishness of the younger son - Sinner 3) The repentance of the younger son – Repentant sinner 4) The self-righteousness of the older son – Self-righteous sinner Meditation 1) Have you located yourself? 2) Can you identify yourself with one of them? a) Jesus Christ loves you and eagerly longs to receive you and build a relationship with you. b) Will you turn to Him away from your own sinful ways? c) Will you surrender all to Him and be received from Him?