5. TEACHINGS OF JESUS (A): TWO LOST SONS Luke 15:11-32
Background: The sons in this parable may refer to people who have been baptized as children of Heavenly Father. Or they may mean people for whom God is their Father on the basis of creation.
Consider why the younger of the brothers was not satisfied with his life, even though he had a good home and a good father?
By making his request, the son indicated that he hoped his father was dead. Why wasnít he ashamed to act like that?
Why did the father agree to his son’s demand; he must have realized what would be the outcome (12b)?
Why doesn’t God try to stop a person who wants to leave him?
Verses 13 and 30
What do you think about the young man’s life abroad Ė was he happy there? Give your reasons.
How is it possible that the young man didnít get a single real friend who would have remained his friend even when bad days came?
Why is it hard to make real friends by wild living?
Verse 15-16. The work of a swineherd was the worst thing a Jew could imagine, because pigs were unclean animals according to the Law of Moses.
Why do you think the starving swineherd was not allowed to eat even pig food?
How could a swineherd survive in those conditions?
What made the son come to his senses instead of committing suicide in his hopeless situation?
In verses 17-19 we can read the confession of sin that the young man was planning to say to his father. What did he mean when he said that he had sinned not only against his father but also “against heaven”?
What are the sins you committed against your parents and against heaven? You may answer in your heart.
Why couldnít the young man expect his father to receive him as his son?
What kind of people usually think they are not worthy to be called children of God?
Verse 20. The Israelite house did not stand on a hill in its lofty solitude, but along a densely populated village track. The only place where one could see a little further was the roof of the house.
How do we know that the father had been waiting for the return of his son all these years?
What might the father have thought when he saw his son walking towards the village in his rags and barefoot?
What may the villagers have thought when they saw the prodigal son approaching the village in this miserable condition? What did they imagine the meeting of the father and the son would be like?
We know that men do not run in the Middle East culture. Why, then, did the father run along the village road to meet his son?
Verses 21-24. Note that only slaves walked barefoot at that time.
Why didn’t the son tell his father what he had planned to say? Why didn’t he ask to be treated as a servant?
What did the ring and the best robe prove to the prodigal son?
At which moment did the father forgive his son? Mention the verse.
Why did the father want to give a big party for the whole village?
Why hadnít the older son, unlike his younger brother, gone abroad, even though he, too, was dissatisfied with his life?
When refusing to take part in his party, the older son humiliated his father in front of the entire village. Why didnít this “good” son love his father?
The older son was mistaken when he thought he had fulfilled all the commands of his father. What had his father hoped most from him?
Why did the older son consider himself a slave rather than a property owner, even though his father had promised him half of his posessions (see also 12b)?
What kind of Christian is Jesus referring to by the older son?
Why did Jesus stop in the middle of the story without telling us whether or not the older brother joined the party?
In Jesus’ parables, feasts always refer to heaven. According to this parable, who gets to heaven, and who does not?
What is the message of the parable of the prodigal son to you?
Glad tidings: Jesus, too, left his Father’s home, but for completely different reasons than those of the prodigal son: he wanted to fulfill his Father’s will. When he was returning to his home (at the time of his death), he did not, however, get the same warm welcome as the prodigal son. On the contrary: the door of heaven was slammed in his face and he had to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is why the door of heaven is now wide open before every prodigal son and daughter who comes to the heavenly Father with a ruined life.