Summary: The real power of the prodigal son story is that he returned, not to wealth, status and power, but to the Father.
Returning To The Father
In considering this parable we must consider the 3 groups in the main to whom it was addressed: Verses 1-3
1. Publicans - needed to know about loving the lost. Jesus tells them of lost sheep, a lost coin, addressing that which most spoke to them;material things. Then He speaks of a lost son, and a lost brother.
2. Sinners - needed to know about the robe, the ring, the shoes, and the fatted calf. v.7 He rejoices not condemns. He searches to find the lost sheep, not to kick it over the cliff.
3. Disciples - give me versus make me. The prodigal son started out with give me, when he came to his senses, his prayer became make me. Too many Christians are give me Christians.
The dissection of falling and rising
1. v.13. He went to a far country. He did not lose his substance until a good while after he left the presence of the father.
2. v.14 He wasted his substance. (ooseeah-what one has, possessions, wealth etc...it comes from the word ooan which means ones being)
It means he began to be in decline financially, physically, emotionally.
For the believer more tragically he lost his relationship with the Father, he stopped enjoying the blessing of the Father’s close presence.
3. v.14 There arose a famine. God cursed what precious little was left.
4. v.14 He began to be in want. This happened long before he came home. Lord direct our prayers
5. v.15 He learned the true nature of the citizens of that other country.
6. v.17 He came to his senses. Cf. Daniel 4:36 (quickview)  - Nebuchadnezzer had his reason return to him after a similar time of affliction. Trials have a way of bringing people back to his senses.
7. v.17 He remembered his dad.
8. v.18,19 He repented.
9. He came to his father.
He didn’t return to his possessions, they were gone.
He didn’t return to the good life.
He returned to his father.
Close: 223, Softly and tenderly.