Based on Luke 15:11-32

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

I need ______________ to be reconciled with me.  

To reconcile means =  

They have tried the following to fix the relationship:  

  • ________________________________________________________

  • ________________________________________________________

  • ________________________________________________________

Forgiveness and reconciliation is a key practice of the Christian life  

  • Mt 5:24 ““Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  

  • 1 John 4:19-20 “We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

Everyone is _______ and has this call to come _________.   

Son #1  

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • V17 “When he came to his senses”  

  • Some people want to get home by ___________________.  

Son #2  

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • V29 “All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.”

  • Some people want to get home by ___________________.  

The lost still want ________.   

The father gives them his own __________.  

The Son must pay a high price.

True _______________________ costs too much.

Only the father can _______ ____________ the lost, because only the father _______ everything he has.  

So let’s __________.

With whom could you celebrate the Father’s compassion and the Son’s sacrifice? ________________________________________

Let’s party, because only the father gives everything he has.

Studying this section is most beneficial if think of someone who you need to forgive and someone else with whom you need to be reconciled. As we start, think of one or two specific people.  

  1. What is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation? Which one do you think is harder?  

  2. What makes it hard to forgive people?  

  3. What makes it hard to reconcile with people?  

  4. In this event (not just in the story) who are characters?  

  5. Verses 11-12 Explain what happens in these verses and the significance of them. Here is a comment from Joel Green, a New Testament scholar, explaining the social dynamics. “According to tradition and reinforced by political rhetoric, the family in Jesus’ world was hierarchical in *authority. The eldest male of the household was the patriarch, possessing all the power that patriarchy entails. Husbands held power over their wives (see Sir 25:26; 4Q418 10, 3–10), and mothers and fathers were in authority over their children, including their adult children (Ex 20:12; Tob 4:3–4; Sir 3:1–16; 4Q418 9, 17–18). Jesus supports the power of parents (Mk 7:9–13; 10:19; cf. Lk 2:51), and his *parables reflect patriarchal hierarchy (Mt 18:23–34; 21:28–31; Lk 15:11–32). The challenge of these expectations makes stories like the parable of the prodigal son and Jesus’ call of *disciples away from their homes quite surprising (Mt 8:21–22; 10:34–38; Lk 9:59–62; 15:11–32)."  

  6. Compare verses 17-19 with verse 21. What is the difference?  

  7. Why do you think the father is able to forgive his son but the brother is not able to forgive his brother?

  8. One of the things that bothers people is that the father seems to offer forgiveness to the son free of charge. The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ paid for our sins with his life and death. How is the father able to forgive his son?

  9. In this parable, who are you right now? Who have you been at various times?

  10. With whom could you celebrate the Father’s compassion and the Son’s sacrifice?