Bible Insights

The Lost Son: Our Heavenly Father Watches and Waits for Us

The Parable of the Lost Son Shows God’s Unconditional Love

Jesus teaches us of his Father’s unconditional love in a parable. Some people call this story “The Prodigal Son,” but calling it “The Lost Son” is more accurate (Luke 15:11-32). In this allegory we have a man and his two boys.

The older son is compliant, while the younger son is rebellious. The younger boy, the prodigal, has the audacity to ask his father for his share of the inheritance while Dad is still alive.

The father agrees, and the son takes off. He turns his back on his dad. The young man squanders his inheritance on an unrestrained life. Soon his money is gone. He’s left with nothing, taking on a despicable job to stay alive.

In his despair, he thinks back to his father and of how well he treats his hired hands. They have it much better than this wayward son—the lost son—who is penniless and starving. He decides to return home in humility.

He plans to beg the father he disrespected to take him on as a hired servant. At least then he’ll have enough to eat.

Meanwhile the father is on the lookout for his boy.

As the son journeys home, his father spots him in the distance. He runs out to embrace his boy. The son is returning to the father, and the father accepts him without hesitation, without asking questions.

Dad will have none of his boy’s plea to work for his food as a laborer. Instead the father reinstates the boy’s status as a son, an heir to all he has. With much joy Dad takes his boy in, reunited again.

To celebrate, the father throws a lavish party for his boy. He explains his rationale to the older brother. “My boy was as good as dead but is alive again. My lost son is now found.”

The Lost Son and Us

Like the lost son, the same applies to us if we disrespect God and turn our back on him. He’s waiting, looking for us to return. And when we come back, he’ll throw a lavish party. He will reinstate us as his heir.

We were dead but are now alive. We were once lost but are now found.

Whether lost or found, God offers us unconditional love that we don’t deserve. All we need to do is embrace him and accept his love.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Luke 13-15, and today’s post is on Luke 15:11-32.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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