Found in Luke 15:11-32, the parable of the prodigal son is one of Jesus’ most famous parables. Jesus isn’t just telling a story about a young man’s dive into sin, followed by his restoration. He’s telling our story. We’ve all been “prodigaled,” so to speak, in our lives. As penitent sinners, we’ve needed to come home to our heavenly Father. We need the Father, just like the prodigal son, who learned some hard lessons about sin.
Sin is a waste: The younger son “wasted his possessions with prodigal living” (Luke 15:13). The blessings of this life are gifts from God, and they shouldn’t be wasted. Instead, they must be used to glorify God.
Sin causes us to be in want: The younger son found himself “in want” (Luke 15:14). Those who are knee-deep in sin need more important things than money or material possessions. They need their soul cleansed. They need to repent. They need God.
Sinful living has its costs: Sin makes us the lowest of the low—unclean and defiled (Luke 15:15-16). The younger son knew he couldn’t live a sinful life and be at home, so he left. Leaving the Father and attaching yourself to sin will have its consequences.
Repent: The younger son came to his senses (Luke 15:17) and decides to return to the father. The only way out of sinful living is to get right with God. Like the younger son, we, too, must repent to be saved.
In addition to the younger son, we learn several lessons about the father, who represents our heavenly Father.
God grants us the freedom to choose (Luke 15:12): God respects our free will. If we choose to leave Him, He lets us go. He’s there waiting for us to return, but He leaves the choice up to us.
God has compassion for us (Luke 15:20): We all sin, but what God desires most is to be merciful toward those who repent.
God provides for those in His house (Luke 15:17): The servants in the father’s house had everything they needed. God will supply our needs.
God is patient with those in His house (Luke 15:25-32): Notice how tenderly the father treats the older son. Even when we do things that anger and sadden God, He remains patient with us.
God is willing to forgive: If we do what the prodigal son did, we will be forgiven and restored. As long as there is life, there’s always the invitation and opportunity to come home to the goodness of God.