The following text is part of a document which I made with the intend of making it easier for me to explain the story of the prodigal son to a special group of people. It has been slightly adapted for this website.
verse 11: Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons.
Jesus is speaking here. Maybe you have never heard about Jesus before but I want you to listen carefully. Jesus is my best Friend and He is far more important than the most important human being you can think of. He is God and He became a human being like we are and He wants to become your friend. You will understand this later on. Sweet Jesus is telling a story to make something clear to us. He is telling a story of a good father who had two sons. We will only talk about the first son, we will not be talking about the second son. We will talk about his relationship with his father, which is a symbol representing our relationship with our heavenly Father (God).
v 12: The younger one said to him, ‘Father, give me my share of the property now.’ So the man divided his property between his two sons.
The son did not care about his father. In the same way, we did not care about our Father in Heaven, although He had given us life and all good things. (Psalm 139:14, James 1:17)
v 13: After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living.
Reckless living: what we received from God our Father, we wasted in living for ourselves and for what we wanted. We did not care about what God thought about how we behaved towards others.
v 14: He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing.
When we follow Jesus, as sheep, we might encounter famine and we might even die but we have everything that we need, as we are satisfied in knowing Him and the peace which He gives to us. (Psalm 23:1)
v 15-16: So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat.
When we follow a certain evil human master, we will be deceived and, finally, we will be disappointed. You might have ran into a lot misery in your live, due to your own or other people’s faults. God did not want this to happen to you. (Genesis 1:31; 6:5-6)
v 17: At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father’s hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve!
Why don’t we come to our minds and realize that human beings won’t give us true satisfaction but only a relationship with Jesus and God our Father will give us true satisfaction?
v18: I will get up and go to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you.
To sin is to break God’s moral law (law: rules which tell us what is good and what is evil and which have consequences attached to them. We know in our consciences what is good and what is evil and we feel a burden when we have done evil.) out of selfishness (selfishness: caring only for what we need ourselves.). We are guilty in front of God and we alienated ourselves from Him when we broke His moral law by choosing to live for ourselves. Jesus, my best friend, opened the way for us to be reconciled again to God our Father, who made us and is not far from us at all.
v 19: I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.”’
In essence, we do not deserve anything from God, since we all showed that we no longer wanted to be God’s friends, by breaking His moral law.
v 20: So he got up and started back to his father. “He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him.
You might feel like you are far from God, your good Father but when you come to Him through Jesus, sincerely repenting of what you have done against Him, He will come to you and show you that He has always loved you. He gave us all that promise when He told us in His Book: “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” (John 6:37) and “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you. And you will eat with me.” (Revelation 3:20, ERV)
v 21: ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’
You are invited by your loving Father in Heaven, to tell Him that you are unworthy because of the awful things you have done before His eyes.
v 22: But the father called to his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.
When you confess your sins, and put your faith in Jesus, God immediately restores you and gives you back your dignity and you will truly feel/truly know that you are the child of a Father who has always loved you. (“When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, TLB), Romans 5:8, John 3:16)
v 23: Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast!
The most beautiful proof that God your Father truly wants you to come back to Him, is the sacrifice of this calf. This is a symbol of how God the Father gave His Son Jesus Christ, who willingly came, to suffer like you suffered, and die on a cross, as a means of showing that Father God did not want you to suffer and to be separated from Him. Do you want to be reconciled to Him? (Genesis 1:31; 6:5-6, Romans 3:25-26, Ephesians 2:4-5)
v 24: For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began.
If someone, who is dear to us, leaves our lives, it is as if that person died. In the same way, we have separated ourselves from the fellowship we had with God our Father. God the Father and Jesus are very sad when you stay away from Them but They are very happy if you return to Them. They are yearning for your return. Do you want to return to Them?
picture source: beyondhumptydumpty.
(Extra Bible verses:)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17, NKJV)
‘However, what else does it say? “This message is near you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the message of faith that we spread. If you declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God brought him back to life, you will be saved. By believing you receive God’s approval, and by declaring your faith you are saved. Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed.” There is no difference between Jews and Greeks. They all have the same Lord, who gives his riches to everyone who calls on him.’ (Romans 10:8-12, GW)
This document has been used while explaining the parable of the prodigal son to a special group of people on July 25, 2016. All passages are taken from the Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society.