Luke 15:11-32

Talks for Growing Christians

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32

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Lesson Number 41

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The parable of the Lost Son emphasizes our rebellious attitude and the Father’s forgiveness.
    1) The younger son represents unbelievers who are rebellious, but repent.
    2) The older brother represents unbelievers who are self righteous and do not repent.

Practical Application

  1. Praise the Lord for reconciliation!


  1. Why was it insulting for the son to ask for his inheritance from his father?
  2. The father agreed to give the son his inheritance. What does this teach us about God, our Father?
  3. Does the younger son best represent a lost believer who becomes a Christian, or a backsliding Christian who is restored? First answer these two questions: What did the Lord have in mind when He gave the parable? - To whom did the Lord give the parable?
  4. How was the older brother a depiction of the Scribes and Pharisees?
  5. What is reconciliation?


  1. In that day the inheritance was divided up after the father passed away. For a Jewish son to ask for his inheritance ahead of time was the same as wishing that his father were dead.
  2. God does not manipulate us, but lets us exercise our own free will – even when we have rebellious, runaway attitudes.
  3. There were two distinct groups in the audience when the Lord gave this parable (vs 1-2) – tax collectors and open sinners, and the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees. The Lord had both groups in mind when He gave the three parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Remember, the Lord was speaking to Jewish people, who are God’s special people, but both groups were lost and needed to be saved. So the best application of this parable for today is not for backsliders, but for lost unbelievers needing to be saved.
  4. The older brother was angry that grace had been shown to his younger brother, just as the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees hated the fact that the Lord showed mercy to sinners.
  5. Reconciliation means to be brought back into a beautiful, harmonious relationship with God.


  1. Did you ever have a “younger son” attitude? Were you a rebellious runaway before you came to your senses? If so, what caused you to come to your senses and return home? What reception did you receive from your Heavenly Father?
  2. Have you ever had an “older brother” mentality? Have you resented someone who had come to faith and seemed to “get off scot free” from the consequences of their past mistakes? How could you approach this person with the joy and forgiveness of the father instead?


  1. As believers, we are not only forgiven, we are reconciled to the Father! Praise the Lord for reconciliation!

Key Verses

  • “The younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Luke 15:13
  • “But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
  • “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” Luke 15:32

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