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Luke 15:11–32 ‘You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’ (v31b)

This is one of the best-known parables but is typically given an inaccurate name! It is true that ‘The Prodigal Son’ title does cover some elements of the story.

The son calls for his inheritance to be given to him by his father, wastes it and returns home keen to make amends, only to be wonderfully restored to his position as son.

The context is Jesus’ welcome to tax collectors and sinners in verse 1, and the way He is criticised for this by the religious leaders of the day.

In Jesus’ parable, the younger son represents the tax collectors and sinners, who are welcomed into God’s kingdom.

The eldest son represents the religious leaders. The eldest son is clearly angry that his brother is given such an easy time and remonstrates with his father.

Popular Parable

Perhaps the key line in the whole parable is the father’s comment ‘everything I have is yours!’

The eldest son had been slaving away as if he was a hired hand, not enjoying being a son and so is angry that’s this brother is enjoying the benefits of sonship.

The Pharisees must have realised that Jesus was speaking of their own ungenerous attitude to those entering the kingdom.

And whilst we know the outcome for the younger son, the fate of the eldest son is left hanging. We do not know if he was reconciled to the Father.

If you sense you have moved into ‘hired hand’ mode, maybe it’s time to remember that all the Father has is yours, and live as a rich son of the King of kings.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Help me, Lord, not to be hard hearted towards those I don’t think deserve your grace. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Is there someone whom you think is beyond being in the kingdom? Pray for them.

Scripture To Consider:
Isa. 61:1–3; Mic. 6:1–8; Matt. 21:28–32; Luke 14:15–24

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.