Return of a Wayward Son

Gods heart is to see lost people lovingly reconciled to Him.

In the Gospel by Luke, chapter 15 contains three parables of Jesus (the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son). While all three of these parables underscore God‘s love for people lost in sinful living, and the joy that comes with their being saved from sin, this lesson is focused on the last and longest of these three parables, called by many “the story of the prodigal son.“ This selfish young man wasted his inheritance on simple living. But as it turns out, the good father of this young man is the chief character in the story, who reminds us of the character and goodness of God, our heavenly Father, whose will it is that no one should perish in sin.

GOLDEN TEXT: Luke 15:22  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:


A. An Inheritance Demanded and Wasted

Luke 15:11  And he (Jesus) said, A certain man had two sons:

15:12  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.

…….From knowing the rest of the story, we know that the father was very wealthy by having “hired servants” (vs. 19), rather than slaves.

15:13  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 (wasteful) living.

…….That is exactly what a sinful life will cause a person to do, waste every dollar and destroy every display of personal integrity. The pleasures of this world from the outside in seem so enjoyable, unless you have experienced it before, or you have seen a loved one be ruined by it. In verse 30, we can read that his brother called him out for companying with harlots. And apparently there was no present shame since his brother at home heard the rumors coming from a “far country”. The lust of the life of false liberty will draw a person to spend every dime in searching for temporary enjoyment. For many, there are addictions that lead to scars that can never be forgotten about. It sounds like that is exactly what this younger son/brother had accomplished.

B. Consequences of Sinful Living

15:14  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

…….To me, this is part of the story that needs emphasis. For the sinner and their possessions, famine will come either in this life or the next. But, for the ones who have lived in the presence of the good Father, that life of salvation, famine will come sooner. There will never be eternal peace for those who continue in sin.

15:15  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

15:16  And he would fain (gladly) have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

…….Sinful living always has consequences! The sad truth is, people that have experienced salvation in Christ know the consequences prior to turning to sin. For this young man, sin caused him to live in the bottom of society, disregarding his upbringing while in a desperate starving search for his next meal. When people chose to ignore the spiritual compelling and convicting power, the wages of sin begin to take its place. Romans 6:21  says: What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? (What a reminding question for all who are saved!) for the end of those things is death……. Paul calls us to jog our memory and think about the misery we lived in prior to Christ’s saving power! 22  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord……. The wages of sin IS death! But thank God for that gift of eternal life that not only saves me, but keeps me saved!


A. Right Thinking Leads to Repentance

15:17  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!

…….Thank the Lord for causing many of us to come to our senses! Thank you for waking us up and seeing how much better life and eternity really can be!

15:18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

15:19  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

…….Repentance must be accompanied with humility and responsibility. Though the Lord gives us the freedom to forget our sinful past and lay aside the guilt, we must never forget how good the grace of God truly is, and how miserable life is without His guidance. When I was saved, I didn’t desire a celebratory invitation from the church or family members. I only wanted to be kept safely under the wings of the almighty. I knew the source of the peace of God and the peace of life, and just like this prodigal, I would have done anything to enjoy the comfort of my fathers house.

B. Welcomed Home by a Good Father

15:20  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.

…….What a beautiful picture of the longing that the Lord has for His children. The father was looking for his return almost as if there was a connection within the prayers of the father. He didn’t meet the son with guilt and shame, but with a kiss of love!

15:21  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.

…….The son not only regards the sins against the heavenly, but also for shaming the name of his earthly father. Listen to his response…

15:22  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 saved could all take a lesson in this here. The father didn’t tell the son to take a back seat and to hold his head down in shame for a season. He put him right back where he always belonged. If the father had the ability to forgive and forget even after the son shamed his name, how much more should the servants of the father forget the sinful past?

15:23  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

15:24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

…….Remember who is telling the story here, it’s Jesus. This entire story is intended to teach us how well pleased God the father is to welcome home to Himself any sinner who repents. What a lesson of love, forgiveness, grace and the power of restoration.


A. The Faithful Son’s Jealousy

15:25  Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

15:26  And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

15:27  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.

15:28  And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

15:29  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:

15:30  But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

…….Many of people have been in this position right here. We see others wasting life away and disregarding the love and protecting hand of the Lord, and as soon as the child finally decides he/she has had enough, they come running to the altar with tears and pleading forgiveness! All the while, the rest have been faithful and never thinking about skipping a beat. While it’s not mentioned, jealousy of others restoration is a dangerous place to be in. We should be thankful that the Lords conviction has always been strong enough to keep us in every time of temptation. Be thankful that you have overcome the struggle and show the weaker brothers and sisters love and acceptance for finally coming to themselves and looking to the Lord and church for help.

B. The Joy of Restoration

15:31  And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

…….May we never forget how privileged we are to stay at home. The focus should never be on the negatives in others lives, but all the good that comes with abiding in the fathers love.

15:32  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.

…….Though we may have spent everything that was currently dealt to us in a life of sin, there is an inheritance that is eternal. Just like the father of this story, though he gave what was currently set aside for his children, he still had plenty, and that plenty was beyond enough to sustain and satisfy! Thank the Lord for our eternal inheritance that is promised to those who remain faithful to the Lord!

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