A Father and Two Prodigal Sons - Part I
“And he spake this parable unto them, saying…”
“And he said, A certain man had two sons.”
—Luke 15:3, 11
The story of Luke 15:11-32 is a profoundly beautiful and heartwarming parable of a family experiencing serious family disunity involving two sons, not just the younger son. This parable is often called The Parable of the Prodigal Son. But wait, were not both sons prodigal?
Our blessed Lord often taught by using parables. The Gospels record about a hundred parables spoken by the Lord in his sayings and messages. A parable is a story of fiction but with an important, biblical principle and truth. In Luke 15, Christ actually gives three parables with a very similar conclusion.
He begins by talking about a shepherd and one lost sheep. Ninety-nine are safe in the fold, but one is lost. The good shepherd goes out in the night and searches until he finds the lost sheep.
Second, he tells the story of the lady who lost a coin worth a lot of money. After much effort and labor, she finds it. In the first parable, the Lord concludes by uttering the words, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise, joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”
In respect to the second parable, He concludes by saying “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.” Then Christ speaks of angels experiencing joy over one sinner that repents.
But let’s move on the third parable.
Jesus, our Lord, started out by saying, “A certain man had two sons.” Luke 15:12-24 is about the younger son, and verses 25 through 32 are about the older son. In this incredible story, I see four great realities or truths.
First, I see in this story the deception, bondage, and destruction of sin.
We do not know when the younger son began to yearn for the things of the world, but it happened. Someone shared with the younger son what was going on, in a worldly sense, in a faraway city. Some scholars suggest that the Lord was thinking of the city of Rome, the capital of the Roman world.
The younger son awakens one day, visits with his dad, and asks for his inheritance. There is no record of a huge argument between him and his father. The father finds the money and gives it to him. The son takes his journey to a far country. Scripture says he wasted his money with “riotous living.” He was, evidently, in possession of thousands of dollars and just blew it on everything—much partying, drinking, womanizing, and every vice you can imagine. He simply spends his inheritance in a very wasteful manner.
He awakens one day and sees that He is broke. He is busted. An economic famine had hit the area, and he finds himself with no money, no friends, no job, and no food. Wow, he is broke and alone in a far country. Finally, he gets a job on a pig farm and ends up having to eat the husks that hogs eat. The younger son is not a happy young man now. Someone once said, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cause you to do things you thought you would never do.”
Jesus warned, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).
The apostle James said, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).
Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
The prophet Ezekiel prophesied, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:20).
Dear friend, don’t ever forget that sin is addictive, deceptive, and destructive. Hebrews 11:25 warns against “the pleasures of sin for a season.” Thank God, this story does get better.
Second, I see liberation, strength of humility, and repentance.
Luke 15:17 says, “And when he came to himself.” Thank God, he came to himself. The Holy Spirit revealed truth to him, and in the midst of great confusion, he remembered. Dealing with sharp hunger pains, he remembers the great food they served at his father’s house. He makes a major decision that changes his world: “I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:18). The prodigal decides he will return home, confess his sins to his father, and agree to be a hired servant.
Friend, there is victory in humility and repentance. In II Corinthians 7:9-10, the apostle Paul wrote: “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance …. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.”
Yes, biblical repentance brings deliverance. The younger son was humbled, broken, repentant, and ready to change his life. Repentance means to turn around and go a different direction. The prodigal son said goodbye to a sinful world, crawled through the hog fence, and started on that long journey home.
Peter wrote “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not will willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
The younger son journeyed home with a repentant heart. Peter wrote “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he (God the Father) may exalt you in due time” ( I Peter 5:6).
Third, I read of the power, love, grace, and mercy of forgiveness.
In this parable, the dear father sees his son afar off. No telling how long he had been waiting on the porch looking for his son.
At this point, I believe the father begins to shout and dance and cry out, “It’s my son! It’s my lost son! Hey, everybody, I see my lost son!”
The father has compassion on him, runs toward him, hugs him, and kisses him. The father has no acrimony, no words of harshness, no words of rebuke or “I told you so.” Love, mercy, and grace flow from the father’s heart and lips to his son. His son feels this and quickly confesses his sins and declares that he is not worthy to be “called thy son.” The father and son, together again.
With great joy, the father does four things to clarify the relationship:
Read Part II of this article in the November issue of The Evangelist.
- First, he orders, “Get my son a new robe.” Now the son knows he is totally forgiven.
- Second, the father says, “Bring me that very special ring.” The son knew that this meant more than forgiveness. This meant the reaffirmation of sonship. He could walk again in his father’s authority.
- Third, he said, “Get my son a new pair of shoes.” Not sandals like the servants wore.
- Fourth, he said, “Kill the fatted calf and let’s be merry!” I can hear the dad shout it: “Round up that choice beef, the one we have been fattening up for one or two years.” Neighbors, servants, and friends are notified, and a great gathering and celebration begins.