Luke 15: 11-32. A parable of Jesus, ‘The Prodigal Sons:’

Understand this message is given to a Hebrew crowd following Jesus, made up of a wide spectrum of professions, from self-serving tax collectors, and sinners, to the self-serving religious Pharisees and Scribes.

V.11 “And Jesus said, ‘A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the the share of the estate that falls to me'”.

(Note: This is a request for inheritance. An inheritance is given upon the death of the person bequeathing the inheritance. The oldest son, Deuteronomy 22:17, would receive a double portion of the father’s inheritance, as he was the heir of the family. This youngest son, by making his request was then declaring his wish for his father to die, he would rather have his money than his family association. This is an unheard of request, no one had ever experienced anything like this, or even heard of such audacity. Note too, Deuteronomy 22: 18-22, that in this culture, rebellious sons are often beaten for insolence, and in extreme cases put to death by stoning.)

Jesus’ story continues: “So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his estate with riotous living.” (Note : Being a Hebrew, to go to a far country is to go into a Gentile nation, this is another sign of extreme rebellion.). “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.” (Proverbs 23:21 ‘For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe one with rags.’).

V.15 “So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed the swine. And he would have gladly filled his belly with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one would give him anything.” (The pods were of the carob family and were not digestible for humans. And though he had been foolishly spending his money on strangers, no one had any compassion for him, he got nothing in return for his investment in them).

V. 17 “But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my Fathers servants have more than enough bread, but I am dying here of hunger? I will get up and go to my Father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.'”

This is repentance, note that he plans to say to his father, ‘I have sinned against heaven’, of first importance, then he plans on confessing to his father. In all humility he no longer regards himself a son, he figures he gave up that right, and now humbles himself to that position of a hired hand.

In true repentance, which the theme of these parables, this young man in repentance regards himself a slave, seeking mercy, that which he does not deserve. This is a new beginning for this young man.