Summary: Who is the real emphasis on in the commonly called "Parable of the Prodigal son"? It may surprise you who was the real prodigal!
THE PRODIGAL FATHER
INTRO: Jesus often spoke in parables in his teachings.
1. What is a parable?
a. Parable signifies "the placing of one thing beside another" with a view to comparison.
b. It is the lesson that is of value; the hearer must catch the analogy if he is to be instructed.
c. An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
2. Luke 15 begins a section of parables by Jesus on the love of God.
a. 1-7 is the parable of the lost sheep – emphasis is on the concern of the shepherd for his sheep.
b. 8-10 is the parable of the lost coin – emphasis is on the frantic search by the woman for what is of value to her.
c. 11-32 is the parable of the lost son – but on whom is the emphasis placed?
3. Over the years, emphasis has always been on the son, but that would break the pattern set forth in the other two parables.
4. That is why I prefer to call this story "The Prodigal Father."
5. What does prodigal mean?
a. It means "recklessly wasteful," which would describe the son.
b. But it also means "wastefully extravagant," which describes the father.
I. The Father was "wastefully extravagant" in His lavish gifts.
A. Gave the robe of distinction
Lit., "the robe, the first" – the best
B. Gave the ring of authority
Symbol of household authority, father gave authority to transact business on his behalf.
C. Gave the sandals of sonship
Represented reinstatement in household, servants not allowed to wear them.
II. The Father was "wastefully extravagant" in his joyous celebration.
A. He threw a banquet to end all banquets
B. The fatted calf was reserved for a special occasion
C. There was music and dancing
III. The Father was "wastefully extravagant" in his forgiving love.
A. By asking for his inheritance, it is as if the son considered his father as already dead.
B. In Jewish culture, people would expect a father to reject a son who left the Jewish faith and disregarded his family.
C. This father went running to meet his son, which was very undignified!
D. What we see is the inexhaustible mercy of the father in restoring his son when he comes to him in repentance
E. Our God is the same as this father – He lavishes his great love on us in an unrestrained and uninhibited way.
F. He is a "prodigal father," prodigal in the way he, in most people’s eyes, wastefully lavishes his love on prodigal humans