What is the parable of the Prodigal Son?


By BibleAsk Team

The Prodigal Son

The parable of the Prodigal Son, found in the Gospel of Luke, is one of the most well-known and profound stories in the Bible. It was a parable taught by Christ to show the Father’s forgiveness, redemption, and boundless love for a rebellious son. This powerful narrative serves as a reminder of the transformative power of forgiveness and the boundless mercy and grace of God.

The parable begins with a young man who, discontented with his current circumstances, demands his share of the inheritance from his father. Eager to experience life on his own terms, he squanders his wealth in a distant land, indulging in reckless living. However, his careless lifestyle is short-lived, as a severe famine strikes the region, leaving him destitute and desperate.

The Path to Redemption

In dire straits, the prodigal son realizes the magnitude of his mistakes and experiences a profound change of heart. He decides to return to his father, not expecting to be received with open arms but hoping for a chance at redemption. As he nears his home, his father catches sight of him and, filled with compassion, runs to embrace him. Instead of scolding or condemning his son, the father celebrates his return, showering him with love and forgiveness.

The Father’s Love

One of the central messages of the parable is the unconditional love and mercy of the father. Despite his son’s reckless behavior and betrayal, the father’s love remains steadfast. His response to the prodigal son’s return serves as a powerful reminder of God’s unwavering love for humanity. It teaches us that no matter how far we may stray or how badly we may have erred, we are always welcome to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Like the prodigal son, we are to simply choose to return home to be embraced and loved by the father.

The Elder Brother’s Struggle

While the parable primarily focuses on the prodigal son, it also introduces another important character, the elder brother. Upon hearing of the lavish reception his brother receives, the elder son becomes resentful and refuses to join the celebration. His reaction raises questions about the nature of forgiveness and the challenges of embracing the wayward. It reminds us that true forgiveness requires humility, compassion, and the ability to let go of resentment.

This is an important analogy for those who feel they are “with the father”, but not share the same feelings of joy and forgiveness when one of their brothers and sisters in Christ returns to the Father. Like the father, we should find joy and celebrate the return of those who were dead and are alive again, who were lost and are now found (Luke 15:24).

Lessons from the Prodigal Son

The parable of the Prodigal Son offers profound lessons. It teaches us about the transformative power of our God’s forgiveness, His mercy, and unconditional love. We are just choose to return to the Father, confess our sons, and find rest in His loving mercy. “Father, I have sinned against heaven¬†and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21).

This parable also urges us to reflect on our own capacity for forgiveness and to extend compassion to those who have strayed from the path. Additionally, it reminds us to be mindful of our own actions and the consequences they may have on our relationships with others.


The parable of the Prodigal Son remains a timeless and universal story, resonating with readers across cultures and generations. It teaches us about the redemptive power of love, the importance of forgiveness, and the depths of God’s mercy. By examining the narrative and its various elements, we can gain insight into our own lives and relationships, ultimately striving to embody the qualities of forgiveness, compassion, and unconditional love demonstrated by the Father in the parable.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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