The word "prodigal" means one who is reckless, wasteful or a
spendthrift. Prodigal is most often understood from a story that
Jesus told. In 313 words, Jesus paints a picture that has more
reality than any of the "reality" shows on TV--a drama that has
touched hearts for 2,000 years.
What Does God Say?
"Jesus told them this story: 'A man had two sons. The younger son
told his father, "I want my share of your estate now before you
die." So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his
"'A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and
moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild
living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over
the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to
hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The
young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the
pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
"'When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At
home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I
am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I
have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy
of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant."'
"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long
way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion,
he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to
him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no
longer worthy of being called your son.'
"But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest
robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and
sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We
must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has
now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the
party began" (Luke
- List the main scenes in this short story.
- What emotions color each scene?
- In light of the story, how would you describe a "prodigal?"
- Here's the big question: Jesus was doing more than just
telling a touching story. What was He intending to teach us?
The emphasis in the story of the prodigal son is not about the
son but about the father. Jesus used the heart and actions of the
father to teach us about the heart of the Heavenly Father. God loves
sinners and with open arms always welcomes them to His heart and
If you have never experienced the love, forgiveness and joy that
God gives through Jesus, why don't you come to Him? Click on the "Meet Jesus" link
for all the details.