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What is the meaning of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?


Luke 15:11 - 32

ESV - 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is found in Luke chapter 15, verses 11-32. The main character in the parable, the forgiving father, whose character remains constant throughout the story, is a pictu...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image Thomas K M A retired Defence Scientist from Indian Defence R&D Orgn.
Out of all the Parables Jesus narrated, the parable on Prodigal son is so fascinating and gives us a learning experience in our life. Let us consider again the wonderful parable of the prodigal son which will narrate truths about our great salvation. 

When the son was in "the far country," feeding the hogs, he thought of how his father's servants had plenty of food. He determined to return to his father and to say to him,"Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Let me be as one of your servants." 

When the son returned, the father fell upon his neck and covered him with kisses. At that moment the son knew that he was forgiven and accepted, just as he was. But the father did not leave his son in his rags and dirt. He made him suitable to himself. The father said to his servants,"Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet." (Luke 15:22). Here the father and son relationship had never broken but only the fellowship, when the son departed from the father. 

In the same way, our relationship has not been broken, only the fellowship due to adamic sin. But that broken relationship was restored by Jesus Christ when He became the propitiation of our sin. When we come to God as a repenting sinner, God forgives us and accepts us, just as we are in our "rags and dirt.“ But God does not leaves us that way. He makes us suitable to Himself. 

The ring in Scripture signifies honor and authority. When the children of Israel were in Egypt, Pharaoh had a dream which greatly troubled him. None of Pharaoh's wise men could tell him the meaning of his dream, but Joseph, a Hebrew slave, revealed to Pharaoh the meaning.
Joseph told Pharaoh that God had revealed the meaning of the dream to him. Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph, that he took off his ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand. This meant that he was giving Joseph his authority. Joseph was put in charge, under Pharaoh, of everything in Egypt. 

We are the sons of God and God has given us "the ring.“ When Pharaoh gave this ring to Joseph it was as much as to say, "You are to represent me.“ God has chosen us to be His representatives in this world. Think of the honour that has been bestowed on us— being chosen by God to represent Him!

June 24 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The parable of the prodigal son is the third part of a three-part parable by the Lord - the lost sheep, the lost silver coin, and the lost son. It is like a triptych, three paintings hinged together all portraying a single unified message.

Most commentators assume it is about eternal salvation, but it is not. It is about restoration. Of the one hundred sheep the shepherd had, one was lost but was restored. Of the ten coins the woman had, one was lost but was found. Of the two sons the father had, one was lost but was welcomed back. They were lost in the sense of being outside of the unit they belong to but brought back to safety and security. Each lost entity pictures a departure from fellowship, as the sheep lost in distance and danger, the coin lost in darkness and detection, and the son lost in debauchery and dissipation. These picture those who needed restoration to fellowship. 

However, restoration is not the key thought either. Jesus intended another message. The ministry of the Lord had attracted tax collectors and sinners who desired to hear Him. The Pharisees and scribes complained that Jesus was receiving sinners and that He even had the audacity to dine with them. This attitude led Jesus to respond, speaking directly to them, Luke 15:3. So what was the purpose of the parables?

In the three parts, Jesus had the Pharisees and scribes imagine themselves in the roles he presented. While doing so, they were forced to realize they were not fulfilling their roles as shepherds or owners as depicted in the first two parts of the parable. 

Then, in the third section of the parable, He has them assume the role as father of two sons. The wretched story is given of the wayward son who wasted everything in riotous living and was brought to great humiliation. 

It is evident that the younger prodigal son represents the sinner, and the elder son represents the Pharisees and scribes. But there is more that Jesus intended to convey. The main character is not the prodigal son in the depths of sin, but the father who lovingly restores the son.

In this powerful illustration, the Lord contrasted the loving Father in heaven who cares for His children with the leaders who failed by neglecting the children. The Father sees them a great way off, but the Pharisees and scribes do not care. With their critical spirit, they have failed to be true father figures for their people and have not restored the lost sons to fellowship. There is no rejoicing in heaven because they do not recover anyone to repentance.

As Jesus gave the parable, they should have realized that they as leaders were unable to care for those under their care and had failed to do so. 

Also, if they had been listening, they would have realized that Jesus is that good shepherd, the responsible owner, and the One representing the loving Father.

November 20 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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