The Parable of Prodigal Son is a story filled with grace and mercy that illustrates the magnitude of a father’s love when his son repents of his evil deeds and comes back to Him asking for His forgiveness.
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Meaning of Prodigal
Meaning of Prodigal Son
Prodigal son refers to a son/daughter who leaves his or her parents to go their own way to pursue an indulgent life. The person leaves home to do things that the parents do not approve of and returns home after feeling sorry for his deeds. The prodigal son also means an abuser of grace, who rejected good things like love, wisdom, and discipline. Another meaning of prodigal son is a person who wasted his/her money, resources, and assets and comes back to receive a warm welcome from his family after his/her repentance.
Let us read the Parable of Prodigal Son
3 Wise Lessons from the Parable of Prodigal Son
The main theme of the parable of the prodigal son is God’s Unconditional Forgiveness and Eternal Love.
First Lesson from the Parable of the Prodigal Son
Desire God’s Will, Not Your Own Will: The prodigal son wanted to exercise his own will as he wanted to follow his selfish and carnal desires. His father was not ready to give the son his inheritance, but he complied with his request, though he knew his son would lose it all because of his reckless and squandering character.
Likewise, God has given us free will to choose what we want. He allows us to have our way and will. Understand, God’s ways are right, good, and blessed. When we go outside the Almighty Father’s protective custody, we are on the road to ruin. When we follow our will, we end up becoming slaves to our sins and live in filth like the prodigal son. We may feel satisfied when we get what we want; however, the satisfaction is but for a moment, and emptiness creeps inside our hearts and minds after the act is committed.
In the Bible, we can see that the Israelites kept testing God’s patience and deviated from His laws and commandments. They were punished for their iniquities and transgressions against the Lord. They were never happy and were constantly in fear of an enemy attack whenever they worshiped strange gods. They were enslaved and taken to foreign lands where they served their new masters.
So, always look to God’s guidance and direction and never follow the lust of the eyes and desires of the flesh.
Second Lesson from the Parable of the Prodigal Son
Repent with a Sincere Heart and Return to God: We know that sinning makes us physically and spiritually weak, unhappy, restless, guilty, starved for hope, selfish, and empty.
Repenting is a genuine turning away from sin to approach the Holy God. It is a change in direction and acknowledging that we have sinned against God, and deciding that we will stop sinning with the help of the Holy Triune God. Repentance is coming to our senses, confessing our sins, humbling ourselves, and returning to our Father in Heaven. Repentance is trusting in God alone and accepting that He knows what is best for our lives and not following our desires. It is the only solution to a sinner who has abandoned God.
We know that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10).
Even if we are mired in sin, struggling day in and day out to get out of the bottomless pit, we can run back into the loving arms of our Lord and Savior if we repent with a sincere heart. Remember, even though our sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow by our God; though they are red like crimson, they shall be made as wool by our Lord (Isaiah 1:18).
It does not matter how deep the stain of our sins is if we come to God with a repentant heart. He will remove the stain, make us clean, and let us into His sacred presence. Our Almighty Creator will free us from the bondage of sin and make us His sons and daughters.
So, let us repent and accept God’s leadership and authority in our lives. Wickedness is not happiness, and God never disowns us though we have sinned against Him and will restore the relationship we had with Him before. Remember, God loves humanity so much that He sent His Son to earth to die for our sins (John 3:16).
Third Lesson from the Parable of the Prodigal Son
God’s Forgiveness is Complete and His Love is Eternal:
The Parable of the Prodigal son teaches us that the love of our Great and Almighty Father is abundant, and He is willing to forgive and receive repentant sinners. According to 1 John 1:9, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God’s degree of acceptance never runs dry, and His love is never exhausted. His mercy and grace toward humanity are shown by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary for our sins.
Just as the Father in the Parable is waiting for His son’s return eagerly, our Heavenly Father is ready and waiting for us to return home with open arms. However, God being omnipresent has His eyes always on us even when we stray away from him and go back to our worldly way of life. God accepts us as sinners and forgives us when we are truly repentant of whatever sins we have committed. The greatness of God’s forgiveness is that it is like we have never sinned at all, and He restores us to our original status in His kingdom.
We should not treat people differently because they have made a mistake, and we should never condemn anyone but treat everyone well. As God forgives our sins, we must also be willing and quick to forgive the sins of those who have wronged us.
The parable of the prodigal son shows the depth of the father’s love toward His lost son. The father would have prayed daily to God to protect his son and help him even though he acted dishonorably by asking for an inheritance while his father was still alive. He would have pleaded with God for his son’s safe return. Before he even reaches home, the father runs to him and embraces Him, and gives back his full status as a son, though his son expects to be treated as a hired servant. The father holds nothing back and celebrated the return of his child with a huge feast in honor of him.
Likewise, regardless of how far we have moved away from our Heavenly Father when we decide to come back to Him, know that He is waiting for us to carry us back to His caring presence. What a wonderful thing to know that we are only ever one step back into experiencing His love.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100:5).
Thank the Lord for His eternal and unfailing love toward us, and always know that His mercy is greater than any sin. God intensely desires to bring reconciliation within His creation. God the Father rejoices over every sinner that believes in Jesus Christ.
Whenever you read the parable of the prodigal son, remember to take some time to meditate on the goodness and kindness of our loving and faithful God. He will never change the infinite love He has for us though we betray Him and deny Him continuously through our words and deeds. God always gives people what they desire though He knows it is bad for them. He hopes that they will realize their mistakes and come back to Him strongly. He wants humans to embrace His love wholeheartedly and not forcefully.
Remember, we should show the same mercy and love toward our erring brothers and sisters. When we have God’s love in our hearts, we will in turn mend broken relationships with other people and love them as ourselves.
Read our awe-inspiring collection of Parables of Jesus Christ with lessons that can be applied to our daily lives.