The Parable used in Luke 15:11-32 is commonly called "the Parable of the Prodigal Son." However, this Parable beautifully represents God's love for His children in a story of a giving father who cares equally for both of his sons and forgives each of them freely when they walk away from him or each other and return after realizing the great love of their father.
Luke 15:11-12 And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
The younger son asked for his inheritance and the loving father gave to both sons.
Luke 15:13-16 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Feeding swine was as low as you could go in the Bible lands. The one who fed the pigs was counted by the farmer as one of the pigs when inventory was taken. This son had hit rock bottom.
Luke 15:17-19 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
This son finally realizes the care and love of his father and returns to ask forgiveness.
Luke 15:20-22 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But 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:
The father saw the son "a great way off." He was looking for him to return! The son began his rehearsed speech, but the father cut him off having already forgiven him and began immediately to bless him. The ring spoken of was a family signet used to seal business deals for the family. Shoes on his feet - shoes were given when land was transferred. The father not only forgave the son for wasting that which he had previously given him but began giving him more.
Luke 15:23-28 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 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.
The second son was not happy that his brother had returned after wasting that which his father had given him and he refused to come into the house to celebrate. The loving father came out to him. Once again the emphasis is on the love, care, and concern of the father.
Luke 15:29-30 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.
The second son said "this thy son." He did not even call him his brother.
Luke 15:31-32 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.
The father said "this thy brother" reminding him of his family relationship and encouraged him to come and rejoice with the family. The one point of this Parable is that our heavenly father is a caring, loving, forgiving, and giving father.
Updated October 2009