Tidings of Trinity
The Parable of The Prodigal Son
(Luke 15: 11-32)
This parable of Jesus is so familiar that it’s been put to music, and its basic theme (“A broken life and family forgiveness”) has been immortalized in movies and books. The theme of forgiveness after a life of bad choices is so familiar that it is very easy to forget that it is a parable – – a story and not an actual historical event. Jesus didn’t say: “On this date, a man had two sons . . . . ” The Parable Of The Two Sons is a story! With that in mind, let’s see what Jesus meant to teach us and tell us with these words.
First, we learn that greed is a universal human characteristic. As the young man “wanted it all, now!”, so, we too, can be impatient and greedy.
Second, despite our greed, God doesn’t give up on us. He seeks us out, and offers forgiveness, just as the heart-broken father in this parable sought his greedy son’s return.
Third, we learn that repentance is God’s work in the human heart. When the broken son”came to his senses” in this parable (Luke 15:17), God convinced him to go back to his father in humble repentance.
Finally, we learn that God’s forgiveness for bad choices is unconditional. See the father’s acceptance of his greedy son in Luke 15: 22-24. The father loves and forgives the son, despite his (the son’s) disastrous life choices.
Our greedy, spiritually ruinous choices . . . and God’s gracious offer of a second chance. That’s the one meaning of this iconic parable.
But, wait a minute! What about the angry (other) brother? Yes, we’re often self-righteous and self-centered, just like him (Luke 15: 25-31). Again, through faith, we are forgiven sons and daughters! Enjoy applying this parable to your life!
Your Pastor and friend,
Dennis B. O’Neill