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The son’s father was overjoyed at this news and immediately accepted his son back into his family. A feast was called for to celebrate the son’s return; however, the older son felt angry at the treatment his younger brother received. To calm the older son’s fears, the father explained that his younger brother was lost and has now been found, giving cause for celebration. The father appreciates his older son just as much as his younger son, but a family member was regained, and this does not take away from the contribution of the older son. This parable is supposed to show just how much God loves his sinful children. The father symbolizes God while the prodigal son symbolizes a sinner who chooses to abandon God. The older son symbolizes someone who shows all the rights actions on the outside but does not truly understand God’s love. The main focus of the parable is on the son’s return and not the many bad choices that he made along the way. At the beginning of the parable, the younger son disrespects his father completely by asking for his inheritance ahead of time. Because of local custom, the younger son would have received one-third, with two-thirds set aside for his older brother. The younger son pursuing this path is like a believer rejecting God and choosing to go their own way. Because the younger son was separated from his father, or a believer is separated from God, he fell into sin because of his greed. Because of the son’s disobedience, his father had no choice but to give his

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son his inheritance and allow him to leave. The represents freedom of choice because God does not prevent someone from leaving the Kingdom if they so choose. When the son left his father’s house, he fell into trouble after squandering everything that his father had worked for. When a famine came along, he was not prepared and did not have anything to eat. Left without any options, the son becomes the slave of a Gentile and is in charge of the pigs. Not only is being a slave to Gentile despicable in Jewish culture, but also the handling of pigs is frowned upon. These actions can be likened to alcoholism or drug abuse. In modern times, the younger son can be thought of as a rebellious Christian who abandons their faith and seeks to find freedom with worldly things. However, in verse 16 it states that no one gave him anything when he was hungry. The turning point in the son’s life is when he realizes that even his father’s servants are treated better that the present condition that the son is in. In verse 18, the son says, “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” To the unbeliever, this is a type of conversion experience where they realize their wicked ways and wish to receive forgiveness from God. Likewise, for the wayward Christian it is about repenting for abandoning God and asked for forgiveness for disobeying him. At this point, the son only wishes to have something to eat, and he realizes that his father will always provide food for him. This is like how people come to God not due to a sincere heart, but due to the need for God to help them in a situation in their lives. When the son returns home, the father runs to meet long before he arrives. Despite everything that his son has done, the father, in this case God, looks past all of that and sees him for who he really is: his son. The prodigal son only wished to return as one of his father’s slaves, but his father accepted him back into the

Summary

Theology 101, Fall 2012, Paper #2 RE: Luke 15:11-32 (The Return of the Prodigal Son) Dear Pharisee, Jesus used the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 to tell a few home truths about the Kingdom of God. A wealthy man had two sons, one of whom wanted his inheritance in advance…
Author : dachcaden
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