I have always understood the Prodigal Son. I have heard many different teachings on it and have agreed with most of them. It is one of the most vivid parables that Jesus told. At least it is very vivid to me....
We all know the story. A young man, ready to face the world and all that is in it, demanded to receive his inheritance from his father. Although his father did not wish to see his son go away, he gave him what he wanted. His brother stayed behind, working in the business with his father.
When the young man went out into the world, he made many friends for he had a significant amount of wealth that his father had bestowed upon him. Day after day and night after night he would squander his money on not only himself but on all those who befriended him.
Then one day a famine came upon the land. The young man soon ran out of money and all the friends who were so close to him had now disappeared. He had been used. He was forced to take a job as a keeper of pigs. This part of the parable is especially significant because to the children of Israel a job as a pig keeper is one of the lowest jobs as the pig is defiled according to the law of God.
When the young man caught himself thinking that he perhaps should eat the food that the pigs were eating, he realized what state he was in and decided to go back to his father and beg him for mercy. He would become a servant if his father would have him.
His father saw him a far off for he had searched for him on the horizon countless times and welcomed him with open arms not even wanting to hear his suggestion of becoming a servant. He rejoiced greatly and ordered the fatted calf to be sacrificed in his son's honor for he was lost but was then found.
This is the part that seems to always to draw my attention:
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. Luke15 KJV
I have heard a few teachings about the older son not understanding and perhaps not having mercy in his heart. But if the prodigal son represented man, then who did the other more faithful,uncomplaining son represent? If man has an inheritance with God which he spent, then who is the other son who stayed with God the Father and did not demand his inheritance?
Man through sin squandered the gift which God gave unto them. Yet God through His mercy forgives and still gives us a place in his household....but is it not both His household and His other sons? For if all the man owned was divided in two then the other son's inheritance was in the care of the father. That fatted calf was part of the other son's inheritance. Yet how could this other son who seemed so angry and unmerciful be a type of Christ? Well I am reminded of this -
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15
Although it seemed that Jesus would not grant or approve of the mercy which she plead for, He did heal her. She acknowledged the fact that she did not deserve His mercy just as the prodigal son acknowledged that fact to his father.
This fatted calf which was killed for the Prodigal Son was something which he did not deserve. We do not deserve the sacrifice which Christ made for us. It is the same. The fatted calf is Jesus' death. Something which his brother owned was given up for the Prodigal. Something which belonged to Christ was given up for us. I see Jesus in that older brother. The kingdom of heaven is His. He sits on the throne. It is His inheritance as His Father gave it to Him. He allows us to share His inheritance and did not the Prodigal Son's brother do the same? Was not the Prodigal Son now living upon the rest of his father's worldly goods which belonged to his brother? The Father shows mercy to the Prodigal and asks the Son to show mercy too. They never say what the son answered his father at the last but it does say that he was obedient and faithful and so it is my conclusion that he accepted and approved his father's explanation. Just as Christ agrees with the Father in our salvation.
People say thank God that we have a Father who shows mercy like that and I say yes and thank God we have a Brother who does so as well!
Carol Essed from Suriname on July 23, 2019:
I think the faithful son represents strong Christians and that the moral of the story regarding them is not to look down on weak believers. Like Paul says in Romans 15 that we who are strong ought to be patient with the weak in faith. It's important to stay in love and not to become like the pharisees.
Robert Sacchi on March 16, 2019:
This is an interesting interpretation of the parable. It leaves much to think about.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on November 01, 2013:
I am so blessed by your comment! Praise God for His infinite mercy and His great blessings. I encourage you to write about it as well.
I thank you for reading it and getting it. I pray that His peace, love, grace, joy and favor be upon you as well!
KnownByHim on October 31, 2013:
I was so blessed by what you wrote. I have felt in my Spirit for a few years now that the elder brother in the story of the Prodigal Son was actually Jesus...and all that you wrote confirmed it in such a beautiful way.
I have been stirred recently to write on this subject....to encourage all of Father's sons and daughters called to sonship to not grow weary in doing good....that their elder brother understands their unique journey of sharing in the sufferings of Christ...of being a living drink offering poured out, their very lives lived as living sacrifices, while their younger brothers enjoy the banquet with not knowing the cost of the fattened calf (cross) that has been slain to make them WHOLE.
The story of The Prodigal Son is rich with meaning....layer upon layer...and you have done a beautiful job of revealing the deep truth of SONSHIP....the truth of becoming ONE in His life, of sharing in the cross, of denying self, of the sheer pain that is experienced in the nitty gritty of daily living the truth of DEATH WORKS IN US WHILE LIFE WORKS IN YOU. (2Cor.4:12).
I actually signed up for a HubPages account just to post this comment because I was so blessed by what the Holy Spirit revealed through you.
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful pearl.
His peace, grace, love and JOY to you!
Caleb DRC on November 25, 2012:
God's Word is THE STANDARD by which to judge words, actions, and beliefs. All your fancy sophistry will not and can not negate God's Word. You were given Scripture, and---I know this will come as a surprise--your opinion can not vanquish or diminish it.
John MacArthur has been a committed slave for Jesus Christ for 40 years. His sermons help guide people away from hell, and that is true love for others. He works tirelessly on that objective.
There is a theory in theoretical physics that in many instances the number of false teaches just seem to POP into existence whenever a mirror is around.
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on November 25, 2012:
Btw, John MacAuthur is another of many false teachers as Paul promised.
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on November 25, 2012:
I will finish with this because I get tired of listening to you determined hell believers. If hell truly exists, I want nothing to do with this god you believe in, but I know why you people exist and are detemind to believe in your hell. If you combine a carnal view to scripture with fear, blind ego, self-righteous pride, a hidden desire for vengeance and spark the religious engine with a pharisitical spirit. You get a determined believer of hell. The spiritual terrorism of all teachings. To suppose that God would bring beings into existence for both His purpose and pleasure who He knew in advance without mercy would be infinite losers by that existence, is to charge him a hypocrite with the utmost malignity.
So much for Jesus turning the other cheek.
Caleb DRC on November 24, 2012:
In answer to your question at #4, it is both( Revelation 20:14; 21:8). It is a living death separated from God, and in torment. Incidentally, I've been at your site and read some of your hubs and know your attitude concerning what I just said. Your views will go up a bit because I intend to read all you wrote.
1 Timothy 4:10 can not possibly mean all people go to heaven because of the copious Scripture that makes it clear that not only will people go to hell, but most people will choose to sin their way into hell( Matthew 20:16; 22:14; and also 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Revelation 14:10).
John MacArthur in his study Bible( "The MacArthur Study Bible") does a very good job explaining 1 Timothy 4:10. You really should get one.
Ephesians 4:6 is referring to believers; He is in all believers. Read the verses before and after.
Well that is it for now. I'll be waiting for your reply to explain all the Scripture I have listed, and all the Scripture that North Wind has listed. We have answered your's; now you answer ours.
Caleb DRC on November 24, 2012:
Concerning 1 John 4:18--If our conscience is clear as Paul's, if we love God as He commanded, and if we love others as God commanded, then we have no fear of God, His judgment, His wrath, or going to hell; however, if we refuse to obey God, then we have plenty to fear, and for good reason: the Bible says so. This is what 1 John 4:18 is referring to. It may have a double meaning that one's love will vanquish fear as soldiers defending others, or parents risking death to defend their children, and many other circumstances as these.
You wrote, "Perfect love sees no faults in others." You contradict Scripture because God is perfect in love, and yet He not only sees our faults( read sins), but it also angers Him greatly as is clear in the Bible.
1 John 4:18 is not a license to sin or to be complacent with our sins, or to be lukewarm, which your perspective of it would foster. Rather it teaches the antithesis of this: love God and others( in the way the Bible describes) so much that we have no fear of judgment from God.
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on November 20, 2012:
1, Are all people saved?
Yes! (1Tim4:10) I could provide your many other verses to prove that God has saved all mankind.
2, Are all people, regardless of their beliefs and religion, God's children?
Yes! (Eph 4:6).
3, Is the perfect love you mentioned, unconditional?
Why not! As I have been made in His image, the love I have for my own sons is also unconditional. Our Father's love for us all is unfailing.
4, "The wage of sin is death" Or is it being eternally tortured? Which one please.
Caleb DRC on November 19, 2012:
I intend to respond to the Scripture you gave( 1 John 4:18); however, before I do so, are you saying that everyone will be saved; i.e all people will make it to heaven? Are all people, regardless of their beliefs and religion, God's children? Is the perfect love you mentioned, unconditional? And finally, what is your response to the Scripture North Wind has already listed for you? How do you explain it and make it congruent with your beliefs?
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on November 17, 2012:
@DRC, 1John 4:18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
God does not make fake pearls, man does. When God made us all, He created each and everyone precious in His site. You sadly don't see that, because you will believe in scripture as you want to believe in it. It is your carnal nature and not your fault. Love is perfect in all its radiance, but the carnal man in his deceiving nature will go to all lengths to twist God's purpose. Even the Christian is capable of such action. Truth be told, we are all one under God, as we are all His children. So don't let pride separate you from your brother. Love him regardless of his trespasses against you. I believe the reason why you could not find a single statement i made that is not erroneous is because maybe you read the bible as you want to read it, not as it was meant to be read.
Caleb DRC on November 17, 2012:
What can I say? Your caught me goofing off tonight, and I'm loving it. I've experienced the same thing. I'll give the science and math to confirm that evolution is impossible and absurd, and all of it is ignored--not addressed, but they want to keep up the debate. Well, answer my questions! Remember Ezra when they kept trying to prevent him from doing God's work. We have to be cognizant of this. Personally, I keep all comments because I believe people may benefit from the debates. People can come to the comments of my DNA hubs and see for themselves how simpleminded the argumentation is from atheists, and how illogical they can be. Some Christians are given argumentation form atheists, and they do not know how to respond, but if they come to my comments they can see one way of effectively and successfully replying. In this process I keep in mind Ezra. There comes a time one must say, We need to agree to disagree, and that usually occurs when it all becomes redundant.
For example, your argumentation with Swordofmanticore is outstanding! People who are being led astray into false doctrine can come to your hubs, or be led by God to do so, and see the Truth you used to decimate sophistry. This is a good thing. You may not realize how uncommon you are. Comparatively speaking, there are very few people who are true Christians shining the Light of Truth in a very darkened world. The comments section is just another source for that Light to bring others to Christ and fight the prevarication of God's Truth.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on November 16, 2012:
Thanks again, Caleb.
Perhaps I was too quick in deleting the comments, I just do not like an argument that goes on forever. I do not go to others hubs and debate with them because I know that I do not like it when it happens to me. I do not mind people disagreeing with me but I do mind when they continue on and on and on about it. I know that is a weak excuse.
Looking back at my comment all I see are 'I's. Too many 'I's and not enough 'Christ's. I have to get over myself and get on with His business as He would have me do it.
Caleb DRC on November 16, 2012:
Thank you, North Wind, I've read them twice. If I write anything that is not congruent with your beliefs, or tact, then delete me. I certainly--and truly-- will understand.
SwordofManticore: Amazingly, I could not find a single statement you made that is not erroneous. Everything you wrote can be decimated with both New and Old Testament Scripture. You wrote, "I did not feel free, I felt fear"; it sounds like your conscience was working at the time. "Savior of all mankind"; did you even read the New Testament? What about many called and few chosen; or burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire( Matthew 3:12), and many dozens more. "You are not responsible for being a sinner"; are you implying that we are not responsible for our sins? If so then you are accusing God of being unjust. "I see all regardless of their beliefs as my siblings"; what about not being unequally yoked, a house divided shall not stand, light can not be mixed with darkness, do not dine with them, shake the dust off your feet and move on, there are some men you ought not to pray for, and dozens more. "teachings taught by false teachers"; then why did Jesus quote them? How can they be inspired by God( by your own admission) and be false teachers? "has faith, but do they and how much?"; your faith is in deception and false doctrine. What good is this faith leading to hell?
Love of sin leads to justification of it, and justification leads to hell.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on November 16, 2012:
Thanks for coming over, Caleb.
You are right - only Jesus can truly separate the truth from the lies. Yes, that is what I was trying to say about the pearl.
"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17.
You do sharpen me, Caleb, and I appreciate it.
Caleb DRC on November 16, 2012:
I'm here( 11-16-2012 at 6:27 pm-pacific). Before you delete anything let me read the comments again.
Good idea to write a hub on the Holy Spirit; it is very much needed. He is being attacked by some "churches".
I have a few comments on my first reading of the comments: There are different swords, but the only one that can cut through sophistry and mendacity is Jesus Christ, the Word of God. Having a sword is useless if it is not the right Sword, because the enemy is well equipped.
I agree with what you said about the pearl, North Wind. Put a pearl in mud, it remains a pearl, and can take the onslaught of mud because the pearl is structured with Christ living within; the Word of God permeates the pearl. Jesus said many are called but few are chosen. Many fake pearls are thrown into the mud but the fake pearls have pores that allow the mud to seep in and corrupt the fake pearl, and eventually it does not look like a pearl at. The pearl is worthless without the molecular structure that makes it a pearl, just as people have no worth except Christ and God living through them via the Word of God.
What does 1 John 2:3, 4, 5, 6 say? There are conditions to God's love. Saving faith is manifested by obedience to God's Word. Any other wishful thinking--oh, excuse me, I mean faith-- is just that: wishful thinking. Why did Paul say to work out our own salvation in fear and trembling?
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on November 01, 2012:
Thank you for explaining your beliefs, SwordofManticore.
I do not deny the completeness of the work of Christ but I do not call Abraham's faith, faith of fear neither Moses' nor Joshua's. The Lord Himself said that Abraham saw His time and rejoiced and so I believe that your definition of an Old Testament Christian is precisely that - your definition. Jesus is THE WORD but the word which is the Bible does record what God has said to His children.
I do not believe that God will lose a single soul but I do believe that there will be some condemned to Hell. I believe what the Bible says. Plain and simple.
Just to be clear so as others who may come upon this may think I believe something that I do not because of your suggestions,
I believe that the Bible is true and that the words in it are truth concerning God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I believe that God will be merciful but He will also be Just because He is good. I do not believe that God is always angry but I do believe that He is angry with the wicked everyday because the Bible tells me so. I follow the old commandments because God's words never change. I believe that it is the law. I know I cannot fulfill the law but I follow it as best as I can to HONOR HIM.
I do not believe that God has an allergy to sin, I believe He hates sin with all of His might. Again, to be clear, GOD HATES SIN and people sin.
I have joy and peace and I am taught by God fearing men who through the Holy Spirit wrote the pages that are in the Bible.
I am glad you feel free and that you believe that you have all the knowledge you need.
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on November 01, 2012:
An old testament Christian is a lot different than a new testament Christian. They follow the old commandments. Pay tithes. View God as an old man in the sky always angry with His creation while he also has an allergy to sin. Consider themselves unworthy and bare the guilt of Christ's death. Puts Christ above themselves as a being who is far greater, when in fact. Christ looked at us as equals. Make restrictions for themselves. Deprive themselves of a joy and peace because they believe in teachings taught by false teachers. An OT Christian may not hold most of all the examples I have written, but some of them is enough. An OT Christian says he or she has faith, but do they and how much?
I am saying that You are not responsible for being a sinner. I am saying Christ rectified Adams disobedience by sacrificing Himself. We do believe in a different Jesus. I believe in His total victory of the cross, not a partial victory. I believe He is the true representation of our heavenly Father, and we can expect our Father to be absolutely merciful during our judgment just as Christ was with the adulterous. I do not believe that scripture is the word of God, because scripture says that Christ is the word. Scripture is written by men who were inspired by God and that scripture in its original Hebrew and Greek text is perfect, while the translated versions contain flaws that have lead many away from truth.
I am a new testament Christian. I don’t hope for salvation. I have found that hope. Not only do I have faith, I trust it. I am a child of God, but I am childlike and not childish. I see all regardless of their beliefs as my siblings. We are all prodigal sons, but I know that most of my Christian brothers who refuse that all are saved are just as angry and disappointed as the older brother in this parable. God is just, and His justice is holy, merciful and loving. His anger is for but a moment and is put on the flesh, but His love for us is always. I believe that all things were given to Christ from God, and all things will be given back to God without losing one. I believe that God is the saviour of all mankind, especially us believers. When I was an OT Christian, I did not feel free, I felt fear. Now that I know now what I know, I am now set free and free from fear. Peace
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on October 31, 2012:
An Old Testament Christian lived just as a New Testament Christian does - in faith. I mentioned verses from both the Old and the New because I do not believe that the two can be separated. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. God cannot change.
I am sorry but you leave me utterly confused - are you saying that it was not my fault that I was born and yet Jesus changed it to be my fault because of His obedience? Or are you saying that it was not my fault that I was born and that Jesus came to tell me that. Are you saying that it was God's fault that I was born and that I inherited Adam's disobedience?
Also, are you saying that the word of God, the Old and New Testament is flawed and so contains lies or some sort of corruption? Who were the men who did not live as Christians yet wrote things in the Bible?
I begin to believe that you and I believe in completely different Jesus'.
I do not doubt the power of Christ. I know what he could've done. But you seem to forget that God is a just God and He will have His day of wrath where the wicked will drink the dregs of the cup.
Before true peace reigns, there must be the sword of truth.
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on October 31, 2012:
Hey my friend, if you wish to continue to live as an old testament Christian, I will not get in your way. I would just like to say this. God has forgotten all our sins through the blood of the cross. That is why He died. Is it your fault that you were born? Is it your fault that you inherited the curse of Adams disobedience? Christ's obedience changed all that. We are justified. We are sinners because of our carnal desires, as there is nothing more evil than a man's heart. We believe in teachers who say they teach the truth they interpret from a book translated and written numerous times by men that did not live as Christians during the time of the apostles. Christ with a word could of shattered the world in pieces while he was on trial against Barabbas who deserved to die according to Jewish laws and customs, but He died anyways. Why? Because of perfect love for us all. We are worth it to Him.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on October 31, 2012:
Thanks for the re-read, SwordofManticorE,
I understand that you do not understand why I say we do not deserve the fatted calf. I will explain to you my reason. I say it because He said it.
In Romans it says:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
In Ezra it says:
And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this
In Job it says:
And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
Also it says in Romans:
The wages of sin is death.
The wages that are due to us is death but God grants us a gift that we did not work for and can not work for. We receive something that we do not deserve in place of something that we do deserve. That is why I say that we do not deserve the fatted calf.
I disagree concerning your opinion about perfect love seeing no fault in others. Otherwise, why would God chastise those whom He loves? I also disagree about us being perfect. If we were, then the Savior would not have had to have been born.
A pearl does not lose its value if it is thrown in the mud but our sin/mud is not on the outside. It is on the inside and it does not please Him at all.
I agree that we are on earth to bring glory to God but there are some who are wicked and are not His children who dwell on earth as well. Whether they want to or not, they will bring glory to His name as well for every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is the Lord.
The kingdom of God is visible to those to whom God will show it. Knowing that the Lord loves us has nothing to do with whether we deserve His love or not. I firmly believe we do not. That would make us equal to Him. He deserves our love and more but His love, which is perfect love - love that is honest and does not lie about the things which are true - we definitely do not deserve. Knowing that brings humility.
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on October 31, 2012:
I read this hub again, and it is still an interesting hub, but what I don’t understand is why do you say we don’t deserve the fatted calve? This is one of the greatest weaknesses in Christianity. We are taught that we are not worthy to receive salvation, the sacrifice of God's son. That we do not deserve to go to heaven. How little faith we Christians have, but most of all, in ourselves. God has made us all perfect. The Father in this parable did not ask His son what He did with his share of the wealth given to him, nor did he order His son to wash the stench of swine off him. He embraced His son because he is worth it. Perfect love sees no faults in others. God will not ask us why we deserve His blessings. He gives them freely because of perfect love. Does a pearl lose its value if it is thrown in mud? There is a reason why we are here, and it is for God's purpose and pleasure. We are all loved by our heavenly Father, and we need to see ourselves so. How will the kingdom of God be visible to the unbeliever if we believers lose faith in God and in ourselves? When Christ said on the cross "it is finished", He did exactly that. Peace on earth and good will to all mankind.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on September 03, 2012:
That could be another truth, actually. The Prodigal Son has many different truths within it. Jesus' wisdom is not one dimensional, that is for certain. I think that all that He said has secret truths in it.
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on September 03, 2012:
I have believed that the older brother is the Jewish nation, but this hub is very interesting. I will look into it again.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on June 24, 2012:
You are right, Didymus. God is a merciful God and He will forgive us once we repent.
God knows your heart and can put into words the thoughts even you cannot. Pray that your heart be true and He will make it so.
Take care and God bless you.
Didymus on June 24, 2012:
I guess there are two traditional views of the story: one is that the Prodigal son represents Gentiles (children of Ishmael, the non-Israelite) and the Israelites. Another view is more generic, Prodigal son is someone who sins and Good son is someone who doesn't. In either case the parable demonstrates God loves both. The moral is that if we seek God's forgiveness he will grant it.
I am sometimes confused by the idea the prodigal son waited until he had run out of money and needed to go home for his father's help. I'm like that sometimes: not praying until I need something from God. I'm too ashamed to ask for it. I hope it isn't pride but a true sense that I do not deserve God's help. I hope God understands.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on November 21, 2011:
Thank you frogyfish! I appreciate your comment :)
frogyfish from Central United States of America on November 20, 2011:
Interesting and unique take on the Scripture story, never thought of it that way.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on April 05, 2011:
Peterws, thank you so much for reading. Yes, He truly gave all so that we may live. The Lord's blessing be upon you today and always!
peterws on April 05, 2011:
I was very moved by your explanation of the Other Son. Brought it to my attention that Jesus didi not find it easy to embrace the cross. His Father`s demand on our behalf. I`m quite emotional about this, have to pull myself together
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on September 11, 2010:
Thank you for your comment, AgedLeader, I do understand that context is very important and I understand your explanation as well but Jesus is the Son of the Father as we, are His children as well. That is just where I was going with it. The fact that we receive a place in the house of God on His (Jesus') inheritance. That is the point I was trying to make. I really do appreciate your comment and I look forward to reading your Hubs!
AgedLeader on September 10, 2010:
When understanding the Bible context is very important.
Verses 1 & 2 of Luke 15 tell us exactly who this parabel is aimed at. There are 'sinners' and Pharisees listening to Jesus and the parabels in the chapter are for them.
The 'sinners' understand their need to be forgiven, they know they have rejected God and gone there own way. They are reassured that the mercy of God extends even to them - provided they 'come to their senses' (V17).
When they are prepared to be Gods servants, then they discover that Gods want them as Sons.
It is the Pharasees that object to this, it is they who grumble that Jesus 'welcomed sinners and eats with them' (V2), it is they who are not happy that 'sinners' are forgiven, it is they who are the older brother.
Jesus is showing them their true status with God, outside of where the party is, but also that Gods mercy extends to them - the Father is pleading with them too.
The parabel is open ended, we do not know if the older brother is reconcilled to the Father - Jesus is leaving it to the Pharasees to decide how the parabel will end.
North Wind (author) from The World (for now) on July 18, 2010:
Thank you all for your comments! I am sorry it took so long to answer!@ davidisaiah yes I understand about the one who is forgiven much loves much and the one who is forgiven little. But Jesus is not forgiven anything because He is sinless. That does not mean that He does not love much, He loves most so He is the exception to the rule.
davidisaiah from Klamath Falls, Oregon on July 11, 2010:
The older son is often neglected in opening up this parable. The focus is usually on God's mercy and spirit of forgiveness. I usually see the younger and fool hardy son has having fallen into a state of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. He had unmet expectations. He was impatient and wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. He paid the price and squandered his inheritance. When he became aware of his arrogance and error, and his sin, he repented and came home again and he was forgiven.
The older son in his anger shows that what he did was done with expectation. If I do what I do, I will be rewarded. He does not necessarily do what is right because it is right. He does what he does so he will receive his share. His obedience is conditional. His love is conditional on being compensated later on in life. The contrast between the two is interesting in my mind. Who has more gratitude....the one who is forgiven much, or the one who is forgiven little?
Captain Jimmy from WV on July 10, 2010:
I believe that the focus of this on repentance and faith and how we as sinners are to come to God! Humble and broken!
Psalms 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Joe A. McCray on July 10, 2010:
I wish I had the time to elaborate on the prodigal son, from the time he left home ,to the time he came back. It's a very touching and humanistic story. Even the brother had a story, that seemed unfair to him. There was a spiritual side too, concerning the Godly father.
Sky321 from Canada on July 10, 2010:
Beautiful Hub! The Father is so merciful.