by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© March 2024, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


I. Introduction

II. The Story

III. Lessons Of The Parable




The parable of the prodigal son is a story that Jesus told that is in the New Testament of the Bible, in the 15th verse of the Book Of Luke. (Luke 15:11-32)

Definition of prodigal. The word prodigal means recklessly and wastefully extravagant, one who wastes a lot of money or time, and not for a good reason.

Definition of a parable. A parable is a special type of story that is used to teach moral lessons.

The parable of the prodigal son is one of the most interesting parables for our time with many lessons to teach.


A man has two sons. The older son is very religious and stays home and works hard. The younger son is a tax collector (considered a bad occupation).

One day the younger son asks for his share of his father's estate. His father agrees and gives it to him. He immediately sells the sheep, property and more for cash and leaves home for a foreign land.

Once there, he spends all his money in lavish and immoral ways until he has nothing left. He becomes so desperate for food he takes a job feeding pigs, which he also eats because he has nothing else to eat. (Hebrew people are not supposed to eat pig. It is considered an unclean animal).

After a time, the younger brother is so desperate he decides to return home and ask his father to allow him to be his servant. He knows he is no longer fit to be considered his son and that he has dishonored his family, his body and his society. So he sets out on his journey home.

When he is close to home, someone informs the father that his lost son is returning. The father runs out to meet him and is overjoyed. He gives the son a fine robe, a ring and . He reinstates the young man as his son and he orders his servant to prepare a very costly, expensive calf dinner to celebrate the young man's return.

The older brother hears about this and the father invites him to the dinner. The older brother, however, is very angry. He says “I have done everything you asked and worked for you for years without fail and you never gave me even a goat dinner”.

The father answers “My son, you are with me always and will always be. However, we must celebrate because your brother was lost and now he is found”.


1. God gives us free will to do as we wish.

2. God even allows us to dishonor him, dishonor the body and dishonor society.

3. God allows us to do this as long as we wish.

4. Our home remains.

5. We can go home when we have had enough.

6. God will welcome us back when we return, not punish us.

7. In fact, God will be very pleased and will celebrate our return.

8. God redeems us and restores us. God is a God of love, mercy and forgiveness.

9. The older, religious, angry son is incorrect . He is thinking selfishly and not understanding the situation correctly. He represents legalism, rather than love. The father gently corrects him.

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