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The parable of the prodigal son recounts the story of a son leaving home and his father’s welcome when he returns seeking forgiveness. The story, very importantly, demonstrates the attitude our Father in heaven has towards us when we seek reconciliation with God.
The parable of the prodigal son is recounted in Luke 15. It tells of a son’s departure from his father’s home, the lessons he learns and his return, wiser for the experience. It’s the story of a family’s reconciliation, and a father’s patience and loving forgiveness of the son he loves.
The story begins with the son requesting an early disbursement of his inheritance. Despite the hardship of taking the money prematurely from the estate, the father gives the son his portion and he leaves, no longer wanting to live under his father’s roof.
In time the son, living beyond his means, finds himself reduced to doing manual labor for a daily wage, with no prospects. He therefore decides, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you’ ” (Luke 15:18).
His father, who has been anxious and worried about his son, sees him approaching from a distance and runs to meet him. He then arranges a joyous celebration to mark his son’s return.
The older brother, who has faithfully served his father for years, becomes jealous and protests. The father assures him “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 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 15:31-32).
This parable of the lost son helps us understand God’s deep desire for us to come before His throne of grace in faith and be forgiven. Our heavenly Father’s attitude towards us is summed up in the declaration of the prodigal son’s father, “This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24).