Summary: The parable of the gracious father in Luke 15:17-24 shows us the amazing grace of God.
For the past few weeks we have been studying chapter 15 in The Gospel of Luke. It is a marvelous chapter as Jesus explained the good news of salvation in the parable of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son.
The parable of the lost son is usually called the parable of the prodigal son. There are three characters in this story. There is a father, an older son, and a younger son. Last week we examined part 1 of the parable of the lost son. We saw how the younger son rebelled against his father, asked for his share of the inheritance, went to a far country, and lost everything.
This week I want to examine the father’s actions regarding the return of his younger son.
Keep in mind that Jesus was teaching this parable to the religious leaders. They were incensed that Jesus would associate with irreligious sinners. In fact, the religious leaders were furious with Jesus for eating with irreligious people. But, as D. A. Carson noted, Jesus taught that “God rejoices over the recovery of a lost sinner, and therefore it is Jesus’ supreme desire to seek and save the lost (19:10).” This parable in Luke 15 is the most beautiful illustration in all of Scripture about God’s joy over the recovery of lost sinners. And as Carson said, “In just the same way, it is implied, the Pharisees should share in God’s rejoicing over the salvation of the outcasts.”
1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: . . . 11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with 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 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.