In our text for this morning we encounter a dysfunctional family. This parable vividly displays the messiness of a world vandalized by sin. At the same time, it also points us to the gracious God who provides a way out and a way forward.
It’s probably the most well-known parable. You probably know it as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Contrary to what many think,“prodigal” does not mean “lost.” Rather it means extravagant or wasteful. Then it’s the parable of the son who blew his inheritance on wasteful living. Recently, Presbyterian pastor and author Tim Keller came out with a book on this parable and he called it the Parable of the Prodigal God. It’s a parable about a God who extravagantly lavishes his children with blessings. In our NIV Bibles, it’s called the Parable of the Lost Son. There’s something of worth in all these different titles. But all of them miss the fact that there is more than one lost son in this parable. And we also need to account for the fact that this parable is also here to teach us something about God. There’s something here about us, about the two brothers, but the most important element in this parable is the father.