Summary: To bring new life to a familiar text I used several alternate endings and discussed how they would have changed the story

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Unhappy Endings

Luke 15:11-23

It is often hard to preach on familiar passages.

Hard to make it fresh.

Today’s passage is one of the most familiar of all.

But we will give it a twist

We are going to look at it from a different angle.

(((READ story from bible)))

Now we are going to play, What If?

Not a salvation story.

He was a “SON”…. born… saved.

He is prodigal… backslidden… but a son.

He needs to RETURN to the father

We read how it really happened …

tell story

now let’s look at it differently…

1. What if the son had never come to his senses?

We know he did, the scripture says, “he came to himself.”

Standing there watching the hogs eat slop and looking for something to pick out. Came to senses and said, I’d be better off as one of my father’s servants.

What if he never came to his senses and just stayed in the pigpen… feeding the pigs and feeling miserable.

2. What if the boy learned to enjoy the pig pen ?

I believe you can learn to like almost anything.

I drink diet Pepsi because I drank too much Pepsi so I decided to drink diet… HATED IT


I remember the first time I tasted beer… father’s

YUCK…. Nobody likes it at first

I know people who eat collards

Must be able to learn to like anything.

What if he learned to like the smell of the pigs/mud

The taste of slop

Told Ethan Canton would smell like home.


3. What if he had become Boss Hog

But what if… he worked hard, worked up to pig manager… bought partnership. Bought out business… began to sell pig franchises.




See the need

# 1 reason people pray

People obey

People come back

No need = no return

It could happen to him

It happens every day.

4. What if the son came to his senses and wanted to come home but WAS TOO PROUD ?

Drop the pretense, trash your pride and CONFESS… get down on your knees, or face… and CONFESS YOUR SIN.

Submissive… repentant

He might have been to proud to face father and brother.

Happens every Sunday in every church where the word is preached…

Not a long trip… 18 inches

Not hard… downhill

But hard because our heart can be so hard.

I CANT admit my failure

Others do worse

I Can’t come in public

I Can’t give up more

Already given up much

COULD NOT go home

Only way is on knees……. Eye of the needle

5. What if the boy came home and the Father received him BUT NEVER LET HIM FORGET HIS SIN ?

What if he said, sure you can come in our house… the house you left

What if the father worked the boy’s failure into every conversation

You can eat our food, the table you decided was not good enough

You can wear the clothes…they probably are not as nice as the ones you wore to feed pigs

What if he told others… This is my son, the one who ran away to squander his inheritance and only came home when he was broke.

What if he made the boy wear a scarlet P for pig-lover.

What if he constantly told him YOU KILLED YOUR MOTHER

Never mentioned

Maybe died of a broken heart



As far as the east from the west

Behind God’s back

6. What if the son got home and the Father had died and the brother was in charge ?

Picture the scene

Well, Well look what we have here. .. The prodigal returned… look what the dogs drug in.

Is this my brother… can’t tell for the mud

Doesn’t smell like him… smells like pig

Guess you want a bath, a bed and a meal


You wasted your half and you can’t have mine.

Jonathan Edwards- Sinners in the hands of an angry God

DJ - Sinners in the hands of angry Christians

We would examine them to see if they deserved to be accepted.

Sorry enough

Paid enough

Good enough

Thank God this won’t happen

Our Father hasn’t died

Won’t did

He will receive us

Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as wool

He who cometh to me I will in no wise cast our

7. What if the father had gotten together a posse and dragged the boy home against his will?

He would not stay..

He could hold the body captive but not the heart.

“I’m sitting on the outside but I’m standing on the inside.”

He had to hit bottom

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