What Jesus Did! 'A Tale of Two Sons' — Luke 15:11-12

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, 'Give me my part of all the things we own!' So the father divided the wealth with his two sons."
— Luke 15:11-12
Illustration of Luke 15:11-12 — Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, 'Give me my part of all the things we own!' So the father divided the wealth with his two sons."

Key Thought

This tale of two sons is told to illustrate God's joy over the return of a sinner. In this story, one son is rebellious and leaves home—he basically tells his dad that he is no better than dead, when he asks for his inheritance before his father dies! The other son, however, never really seems to be at home with the father—he takes his share of the inheritance, the larger share, and stays at home working out of a sense of slaving duty. Neither son knows the heart of the father. Both break his heart as the story progresses. However, the father remains true to his love and seeks to bless and redeem both. My guess is that at different times in our lives, we actually play the parts of each son—self-righteous and loveless like the older son or rebellious and selfish like the younger son. How can we thank God for loving us in either condition and for working with us to help us know what it means to be his forgiven and holy child?

Today's Prayer

Father God, forgive me. I know that I have not always lived my life in a way that has blessed you as my Father. Thank you for your patience and your mercy. Thank you for letting me feel the sting of my sin and the consequences of my rebellion. Thank you for confronting my heart that is unforgiving toward others you have forgiven. Thank you for longing to make my life a place of joy, celebration, relationship, and reunion. In Jesus' name I offer you my thanks and praise. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, 'Give me my part of all the things we own!' So the father divided the wealth with his two sons. Then the younger son gathered up all that he had and left. He traveled far away to another country. There the son wasted his money living like a fool. He spent everything that he had. Soon after that, the land became very dry, and there was no rain. There was not enough food to eat anywhere in that country. The son was hungry and needed money. So he went and got a job with one of the people of that country. The man sent the son into the fields to feed pigs. The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the food that the pigs were eating. But no person gave him anything. The boy realized that he had been very foolish. He thought, 'All of my father's servants have plenty of food. But I am here, almost dead because I have nothing to eat. I will leave and go to my father. I will say to him: Father, I sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am not good enough to be called your son. But let me be like one of your servants.' So the son left and went to his father. "While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. The father felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him. He hugged and kissed his son. The son said, 'Father, I sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am not good enough to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Hurry! Bring the best clothes and dress him. Also, put a ring on his finger and good shoes on his feet. Bring our fat calf. We will kill it and have plenty to eat. Then we can have a party! My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!' So they began to have a party. "The older son was in the field. He came closer to the house. He heard the sound of music and dancing. So the older son called to one of the servant boys and asked, 'What does all this mean?' The servant said, 'Your brother has come back.Your father killed the fat calf to eat. Your father is happy because your brother came home safely!' The older son was angry and would not go in to the party. So his father went out to ask him to come in. The son said to his father, 'I have served you like a slave for many years! I have always obeyed your commands. But you never killed even a goat for me! You never gave a party for me and my friends. But your other son has wasted all your money on prostitutes. Then he comes home, and you kill the fat calf for him!' But the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me. All that I have is yours too. We must be happy and have a party; because your brother was dead, but now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found.'"

Luke 15:11-32

Related Scripture Readings

You were all baptized into Christ. So you were all clothed with Christ. This shows that you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Now, in Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek (non-Jew). There is no difference between slaves and free people. There is no difference between male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. You belong to Christ. So you are Abraham's descendants. You get all of God's blessings because of the promise {that God made to Abraham}.

Galatians 3:26-29

The Spirit that we received is not a spirit that makes us slaves again and causes us to fear. The Spirit that we have makes us God's chosen children. And with that Spirit we say, "Abba, Father." And the Spirit himself joins with our spirits to say we are God's children. If we are God's children, then we will get the blessings God has for his people. We will get these things from God. God will give us all that he has given Christ. But we must suffer like Christ suffered. Then we will be able to share his glory.

Romans 8:15-17

When you are praying, and you remember that you are angry with another person about something, then forgive that person. Forgive them so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins."

Mark 11:25

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.