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Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 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.’”

Lyrics

Prodigal Son, Father, Older Son, All

 

VERSE 1

I set off 

On my own 

With all I had 

In search of home 

I wiped my brow 

And took a step 

My Father waved 

It’s time to go and see the world, so I left 

 

CHORUS 1

I’m leaving home 

Today’s the day my life will finally start

I’m leaving home 

No more cares, I’ve got my share and now I’m gone

 

VERSE 2

The world is wide 

And so much grander 

Than what I’d thought    

Than what I’d known 

But before long

I lost my balance 

The world was caving

In, and all I had was mud and dirt and stone, and I thought

 

CHORUS 2

Where is home?

Is it possible I made a great mistake?

Where is home?

I thought this world would give but all it did was take

 

VERSE 3

I sat and waited 

Day after day 

The sun rose 

And set again 

I sent my prayers 

Hoped for the best 

Gave him to God to do the rest

But then one day, you’ll never guess who came walking down the road

 

CHORUS 3

He’s coming home (I’m coming home) 

Compassion takes and lifts me off the ground 

He’s coming home (I’m coming home)

I was lost but when I see Him I am found

 

BRIDGE

I’m sorry Father I did not obey, and turned away, blindly 

But please I ask to serve with what is left, it’s only me, and He looked at me and said

 

CHORUS 4

Welcome home (I’m welcomed home)

Place a robe and ring and sandals on My son 

Welcome home (I’m welcomed home) 

The prodigal is now alive with us 

 

VERSE 4

For all my life

I’ve worked for You

In fields by day

For years I slaved

Yet never once

Did I ask for     

A goat to share with friends

And still You love this traitor more, My son, all I have is Yours (Father are you sure) 

 

CHORUS 5

I found my home (he has come home) (why is he home?)

This son of Mine once dead is now alive

I found my home (he has come home) (why is he home?)

Father says rejoice and come inside

 

I found my home (he has come home) (why is he home?)

Like a sheep I once was lost but now I’m found

I found my home (he has come home) (why is he home?)

Come and join the feast and celebrate with us 

Come and join the feast and celebrate with us 

Come and join the feast and celebrate with us 

Image by Alice Donovan Rouse

Dive Deeper

 

          Without a doubt, the parable of the prodigal son ranks among the most memorable and powerful stories that Jesus ever told. In it, we learn much about the character of God and the attitude that we are to have toward other forgiven sinners. 

          One thing that makes this parable so unforgettable is the tenderness demonstrated in the father's response when his lost son returns. The father's rejoicing was with much compassion. The younger son, who had left thoughtless and rude, shattering his father's hopes for him, came back a broken-down man. Although he had been heartbroken and no doubt deeply wounded by his son's rebellion, the father expressed so much joy, not acting bitter in the least when his lost son finally came home. Who would not be moved by that kind of love? We see in the story that the older son is in fact not moved by this kind of love and his resentment over his father's mercy to his brother contrasts with the dominant theme of the chapter, which is the great joy in heaven over the return of the lost.

          This parable is full of profound lessons, the first being that the love and grace of our Father in heaven is everlasting and overwhelming.  The prodigal represents a typical sinner who comes to repentance. The father's patience, love, generosity, and delight over the son's return are clear representations of divine grace. The prodigal's heart change is a picture of what true repentance should look like. In reading this we can have confidence that no matter how far away we feel like we have gone, the Father will always welcome us home with open arms.  For believers, the Prodigal Son is a humbling reminder of who we are and how much we owe to grace.

          Another important thing to recognize from this story is the heart of the older son in response to the actions of the younger son and his father.  The older brother's cold indifference as it turns out, is a vivid representation of the same evil hypocrisy Jesus was confronting in the hearts of the hostile scribes and Pharisees to whom He told the parable in the first place. They hated the sinners and tax collectors who drew near to Jesus. This parable ripped the mask off their hypocrisy. Jesus is pointing out the stark contrast between God's own delight in the redemption of sinners and the Pharisees' inflexible hostility toward those same sinners.

          This story is so renowned because we can identify with the various characters that Jesus is depicting. The parable reminds us of how we have run away and how we have distanced ourselves from the Father. In contrast it has shown us the darkness of our hearts as we look upon others as if they are less than us because of the things they have done.  It is my prayer that we recognize how this parable applies to who we are and how we are living, whether it is as the younger or older son.

    

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you think of this Parable as having a happy ending? Why or why not?

  2. How does our past experiences affect the way we read this text today?

  3. Do you see yourself identifying with the younger or older son? both?

Image by Jude Beck

Hidden

 Features

Biblical Point of View(s):

The Prodigal Son, his Father, and his brother

Musical Explanation:

  • As the story of the prodigal son contains three different

         perspectives, the song contains the same. As each character is

         introduced, the vocalists are entering the story playing an

         instrument. 

  • The prodigal son and father play the guitar, while the other son plays the piano. For example, the prodigal son begins the song singing and playing his guitar by himself all the way up through chorus 2. Then as he plays the interlude between chorus 2 and verse 3 another guitar joins in. This new guitar/singer is the father in story. At this point the prodigal son stops playing and the father is playing by himself while singing. Then in chorus 3 when they sing together, they are both playing the guitars as well. Finally, as the other son joins in, he enters with a piano which contrasts the father and prodigal. The piano is used to represent the reaction of the other brother’s thoughts behind his prodigal brother returning. The style and tonality of the piano symbolize the brother’s jealousy and lack of celebration. At the end of the song they are each singing and playing their instruments together symbolizing the gathering/celebration.

  • The imagery of the son returning is representative of sinners (us) returning home to Christ. This image of a reunion and running into the arms of the Father is shown again in the song At the End of the Road. The final words of At the End of the Road say “With arms wide open, You welcome me” and this is to represent how we are welcomed into the arms of the Father when we return to Him.

 

How to sing:

This song is to be sung with joy and the feelings associated with a great reunion between two people who have been separated. It is important for each voice part in this song needs to resemble the character they are singing. This song is supposed to be fun and adventurous as the entire story is unfolded to the listener. During this song, the different voice parts join in as they singer plays their instrument to accompany their voice. As you listen to/sing this song, realize the gift of salvation in Christ is like Him giving you a guitar/piano/drum so you can join in and sing this song with the others. As you listen to/sing this song, rejoice in the truth of knowing Christ has adopted you into an eternal and unbreakable relationship with Him.   

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