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The Prodigal Son
Bible Passage Luke 15:11-32
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Luke.

The Prodigal Son

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached September 12, 2022

11 Then He said, “A certain man had two sons;

12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me that portion of the property which falls to me.’ And he divided to them his living.

13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered everything together and departed into a distant country. And there he wasted all his substance, living in debauchery.

14 But after he had spent everything, there arose a severe famine throughout that country, and he began to be in need.

15 Then he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he was longing to fill his stomach with the husks that the swine were eating, but no one gave anything to him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have an abundance of bread, and I am dying of hunger?

18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;

19 And I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired servants.” ‘

20 And he arose and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and ran and embraced him, and ardently kissed him.

21 And his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 But the father said to his servant, ‘Bring out a robe, the best robe, and clothe him, and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet;

23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry.

24 For this my son was dead, but is alive again; and he was lost, but is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 But his elder son was in a field; and when he was coming back, and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.

26 And after calling one of the servants nearby, he inquired what these things might be.

27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come home, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him safe and well.’

28 Then he was angry and would not go in. As a result, his father came out and pleaded with him.

29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Behold, I have served you so many years, and never did I transgress your commandment; yet you never gave me a kid, so that I might make merry with my friends;

30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him.’

31 Then he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.

32 But it was fitting to make merry and rejoice because your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, but is found.’ ”


In the parable of the lost son, we find a contrast between those who considered they had done everything right and needed no repentance (the elder brother) and those who were obviously sinners but who knew it (the younger brother) (Luke 15:11-19). There is also a contrast between the pardoning love of God (the father who welcomes the rebel home) and the cold and merciless attitude of the Pharisees (the older brother who was angry because of the welcome the rebel received) (Luke 15:20-30).

According to Jewish law, the oldest son of a man received two-thirds of his father’s property (Deut. 21:17). This was because, after his father’s death, he would have many things to buy. He would be the head of the family. The second son would therefore receive only a third of the property.

Unfortunately, the younger son in the parable wanted to enjoy himself and so would not wait after the father’s death to request the share of his property.

After all the enjoyment and the money finished, he had to struggle with pigs for his daily bread. Jews considered pigs to be ‘unclean’ animals (Lev 11:17). But the son accepted a job to look after pigs. He must have been desperate.

The son recognized that sin against his father was also sin against God. The father must have been watching for his son to return. He saw his son from a long way off and ran to embrace him. He was ‘lost’ to his father when he went away. He was ‘found’ when he decided to return.

The older brother was like the Pharisees. His work was strict duty. He did not serve his father because he loved him. The Pharisees obeyed the law, but they did not love God. The son did not understand how his father felt. The Pharisees did not believe that God would welcome sinners.

In verse 30, he would not say ‘my brother’ but he said ‘this son of yours. He was trying to blame the father when he said that. He accused his brother. He said that he had spent all his father’s money. But the younger brother had spent only his own share. The older brother could not know what his brother had spent his money on. He imagined that his brother had done terrible things. He may have been right, but he did not speak with love.

The father emphasized that he loved both his sons. The older one should have enjoyed being at home with the father. He still had his share of the property.

The parable does not say whether the son listened to his father. It does not say whether he joined the party. The story of the older brother was a warning against the proud Pharisees. The father gave a generous welcome to his ‘lost’ son. In the same way, God welcomes sinners whom He forgives.

🔷 God receives with joy those who acknowledge their sins/mistakes and turn back to Jesus

🔷 Our hearts should be on improving our relationship with God than on material things that will soon perish

🔷 Every believer needs the grace of God to flourish.

💥 Ask God to forgive you your sins and accept you back
💥 Ask God to provide for you all that you need daily

We must embrace God’s act of compassion to be merciful to those who return to the way of the Lord.

In series Bright Morning Reflections