Are You Prodigal? :: By Nathele Graham


It’s always easy to point fingers at others while we turn a blind eye to our own misdoings. Jesus told a parable about a son who decided to rebel against his father and live a wild and extravagant life his own way. We know this as the parable of the prodigal son. Actually, there were two sons, and each had their own way of rebelling.

Jesus had already told two parables of losing something of value and searching for it diligently. One was about a man with 100 sheep; one got lost, and the shepherd left the 99 to find the one that was lost. When the sheep was found, he rejoiced. When he arrived home, he called his friends together, and they all rejoiced over the sheep that was found.

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).

We know that the parable is about Christ as our Good Shepherd and His care for every one of the flock.

The next parable Jesus told was about a woman who had ten pieces of silver. That was a nice amount of money, but even just one piece of silver was very valuable. She lost one of the coins and diligently searched her home for it. She found her coin and rejoiced.

“And she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost” (Luke 15:9).

What joy and relief that woman felt. This is the joy God feels when someone comes to salvation through Christ.

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

God the Father gave His Son for our salvation, and Jesus gave His life. Their love is amazing, so when one lost sinner is found, there is much rejoicing in Heaven.

The next parable is known as the Prodigal Son. A prodigal is someone who lives recklessly and spends money rashly. They have all the friends that money can buy and seem to be having a great life. Are they happy? Are they fulfilled? The focus of this parable is the youngest son. He had probably been living in the shadow of his older brother and was tired of it. There were rules in his father’s house, and this young man was ready to live his dream.

“And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living” (Luke 15:11-12).

This wasn’t a wise choice by the son. The father loved his sons and allowed them free will. The younger son decided to go out on his own and live life his own way. That didn’t work out the way he wanted it to. With his freedom, he lived life by his own rules. It’s always interesting to me that people like the young son are drawn to sin. There was food, comfort, and safety in his father’s household, but the temptation to sin drew his heart away. So, off he went to a distant land and wasted all he had on a wild lifestyle that his father would not have allowed.

That young son was about to learn a harsh lesson. “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want” (Luke 15:14).

We aren’t specifically told that this was a Jewish family, but it probably was since Jesus was telling it to a Jewish crowd. Well, the young man hit rock bottom. “And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine” (Luke 15:15).

This is something a Jewish person wouldn’t do unless they had no other option. Swine are unclean animals. The young man was not only feeding the swine but was so hungry that he wanted to eat the slop he fed them.

This was a hard lesson to learn, but he made his own choice and had to learn from his mistakes. Fortunately, this son finally woke up before it was too late. He could have died in his rebellion and been separated from his family, but he realized his sin that had separated him from his father.

“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke 15:17-19).

This young man was very repentant. To repent means to change your mind. He changed his mind about his rebellion and the “fun” of living a sin-filled life. He humbly returned to his father.

There was quite a commotion at home. The father had been looking for his son’s return. “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

The father had never stopped loving his son and was looking for his return. The son was still his son even though sin had separated them. It was the son’s choice to rebel and sin, but it was also his choice to humbly return home.

“And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:21-24).

End of story, right? No, it isn’t. Remember, there were two sons. The older son hadn’t rebelled but stayed with his father without rebelling. Was the older son concerned about his lost brother? Was he concerned that his brother might be hungry, cold, and sick?

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound” (Luke 15:25-27).

How would you feel if you were in this brother’s shoes? Would you resent the joy the younger brother’s return brought to the father? Would you be happy that your brother was home and safe? Maybe you would be a little jealous that he went out and had “fun” and came back and was treated as if nothing had been wrong. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters have rebelled against God and need to come back to the safety of the Father’s House.

The older brother showed that he had his own sin to deal with. “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf” (Luke 15:28-30).

The older brother seems to know a lot about what his younger brother did. Unless he had spies in the land, how would he know his brother spent all the money on harlots? Instead of spying and accusing, maybe he should have tried to help.

It’s easy to look at these two sons and pass judgment. There’s a good chance one of them describes you. Are you the prodigal who has professed to be a Christian but turned your back on the Father and embraced a life of sin? Are you spending your riches on harlots, or maybe you’re the harlot? If you’re still in that lifestyle, it’s time to repent and humbly return home before you die in rebellion. God knows what you’re doing and all the excuses you have to justify your right to sin. There will come a time of judgment.

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

Good works won’t bring salvation, but they will bring rewards on the day you stand before the Bema Seat of Christ. Humbly repent of sin and return to a right relationship with God.

Christians all belong to the family of God. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

How do you react when you see a brother fall into sin? Do you encourage them to return to the family, or do you condemn them as sinners deserving of damnation? Maybe you smugly look down on a weaker brother or sister, knowing that you don’t do any of those vile things called sin. Pride is also a sin that God hates.

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23).

Be careful when judging a brother or sister that you don’t let self-righteous pride get in your way of God’s love and forgiveness.

In the parable, the father’s feelings are evident. His joy over the prodigal son’s return was evident, but the hurtful words and attitude of the older son caused him grief.

“And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:31-32).

In looking at the two previous parables, I see the two brothers reflected there. In Luke 15:4-7, a man has 100 sheep but one goes missing. You might say it was a prodigal sheep. The sheep was lost, but the shepherd looked for that sheep. When the sheep was safe at home, there was great joy. The next parable (Luke 15:8-10) was about a woman who lost a coin. Unlike the sheep, the coin had no idea it was lost. The woman knew and searched diligently for that lost coin. Like the older son, the coin was cold and unfeeling but still valuable. If the older son sees his coldness and returns to a right fellowship with his family, there will be joy and celebration.

Are you prodigal and rebelling, wasting the blessings that God the Father has given you? Are you hard-hearted and cold to a prodigal brother who has returned? Which sin is greater? God the Father loves you and wants to welcome you Home. Your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ needs to rule your life. Show your love to Him by being faithful and share His love with others who are struggling and lost.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

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All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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