Jesus often taught in parables. These parables often involved fictional characters and were told in a purely allegorical way. His idea was that by telling the people a story, they would be able to relate and understand his teachings better. In this way, a parable can be defined as a fictional story bearing a concealed significance. One of these parables is the parable of the Prodigal Son. The parable of the Prodigal Son is a story about a father’s love and sibling rivalry. It is possibly better named the parable of the lost son because it is intended to go along with both the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin.
It begins with the youngest son asking his father for his share of the estate. The father splits up the property between his two sons. The youngest one continues to sell and squander all of his wealth. Famine spread and the boy was forced to become a slave feeding pigs in a field. Eventually the boy realizes that being a slave for his father would be better that the life he was living. He decides to go home and ask for a job from his father. When his father sees him, however, he rejoices and warmly welcomes his son back. He calls his servants to bring him a robe, ring, and sandals.
He also called for the fattened calf to be killed and a feast prepared. The older son, upon hearing this, became very angry with his father. He couldn’t understand why, when he had slaved away for his father throughout the entire time, his father could throw a feast for a son that had disobeyed him. His father responded to this by saying, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. ” The term prodigal can be defined as “rashly or wastefully extravagant. ” Another definition is “giving or given in abundance.
” The son is prodigal in wasting away his father’s property. It also could be called the prodigal father because of he gives in abundance to his son. The entire parable can be found in Luke 15:11-32. This twenty two verse allegory is the longest of Jesus’ parables. It was believed to have been written around 85 CE, but could have been anywhere from five to fifteen years earlier or five to ten years later. As was stated earlier, this parable was the third in a trilogy. The first parable discussed the 100 lost sheep, the second talked about ten coins, and this parable talks of the two sons.
The sequence places an emphasis on the magnitude of losing one of his sons. Losing half, is a lot greater than losing one out of a hundred, or even out of ten. This gives the father greater cause to rejoice when he regains half. Throughout the story, the amount of property and money with which the son is given and is wasted is never specified. Similarly, we are never told how the father divides the property. The actual amount isn’t stressed. Also, back in that time period, when property was divided before the death, it meant that the father was still able to reap the benefits of the estate until he passed away.
This is why the father could kill the fatted calf without asking the eldest son, who technically owned it. This also meant that if the youngest son sold land, the new owner would not be allowed to use it until after the father died. These details are also not pointed out in Jesus’ parable. It can be assumed that these details were not pointed out because they don’t add to Jesus’ lesson. Luke talks a lot about the money that the son squandered, as well as the poverty he was forced to deal with. It also says that he was starving to death. It never, however, explained what sins caused him to lose the money.
This design is very consistent with Luke’s curiosity in belongings and poverty. Even though the obvious surroundings of the story are sin and repentance, the main emphasis in the story is financial destitution. The son never shows his repentance for sins, he only returns because he knows he will not survive if he doesn’t. The fact that he repented for his sins is something that is assumed by the listeners and readers of the parable. The son tells his father that he is “no longer worthy to be called your son. ” This could be interpreted in two ways: legal and moral.