Luke 15:11-32 : Umfanekiso Wendodana Yolahleko


11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.



The Parable of the Prodigal Son

This painting depicts the father's joyful embrace of his son's return in the famous parable of the prodigal son.

The parable of the prodigal son tells of the story of a father and the different tracks taken by his two sons. Both sons make mistakes, and their actions offer valuable lessons we can learn from.

The older son stays on the family farm, works hard, and dutifully serves his father.

The younger son asks to receive his future inheritance early, and then proceeds to waste away this money in extravagant living. As a result of his shortsightedness, he soon finds himself penniless and hungry. In desperation, he decides to return to his father and to admit to his poor behavior.

The younger son's desperation represents the spiritual emptiness we feel when we ignore spiritual things, and indulge in pleasure or more base desires. While such activities often feel good in the moment, they do not lead to long-term happiness, and instead leave us dull, desperate, and hungry for something meaningful.

When we finally realize our mistakes and decide to give up purely hedonistic pursuits for a more spiritual life, we're also going back to the father who rejoices and celebrates our return.

The older son, too, has some spiritual work to do. Upon seeing his father's compassionate embrace of his prodigal brother, he becomes indignant. He is so annoyed that he refuses to take part in the celebratory feast.

This stubbornness signals a lack of appreciation and self-righteousness for what his father has provided him and by extension what the Lord provides for us. We always have the opportunity to take part in the feast, but it is up to us let go of our ego and be thankful for our blessings, instead of thinking we deserve more.

For a more in-depth explanation of this story, check out Rev. Ray and Star Silverman's commentary on Luke chapter 15 here.