Bible Study Notes on Luke 15:11-32 – 20180720

WritingIIILuke 15:12  “…give me the portion of goods that falls to me…”
Some have tried to say this means the son wished the father was dead so he could have his inheritance.  I don’t think you can support that.  As the younger son, he would get an inheritance smaller than what the older son got so the father could give it to him with no problem.  Plus, the father didn’t have to wait until he was dead to give any inheritance, to either son.  They may not get everything he owned.  The blessing would normally come to the oldest when the father was near death, but the inheritance could come earlier.  I think the boy’s problem was that he wasn’t willing to wait any longer for what would be his.  He wanted to waste what he had on doing things his way.  Same old problem.  Sad part was that the way he did it, by asking for his inheritance, was showing he wanted to part from his family.  Like closing a deal.  Not wanting to have anything to do with his father anymore.

12  “…he divided to them…”
Older brother didn’t necessarily take his then.  Father was just dividing it up between them to give the younger son his part.

13  “…wasted his possessions with prodigal living”
Had never looked up the meaning of prodigal.  Always just took what came from the context here.  Can mean wasteful extravagance, but can also just mean extravagance, overflowing, abundance.  The negative connotation comes from the context.  As a noun, it has come to refer to one who wastes finances extravagantly.

14  “…he began to be in want”
We’re not told exactly what his prodigal living entailed.  Obviously from this we see that he hadn’t made any close contacts, people who could have helped him once he spent all he had.

15  “…he sent him into his fields to feed swine”
Not the best job for a Jewish boy.  Swine were unclean animals.  Jesus was showing that the boy had fallen about as far as possible.

17  “…when he came to himself…”
Sad that it usually takes some trouble or trial to get us to wake up and pay attention.  Our own selfish desires overwhelm us and don’t allow us to see clearly.  David was right when he said it was good that he was afflicted so that he would learn God’s statutes.  Pain seems to get our attention.

20  “…when he was still a great way off, his father saw him…”
Was looking for him.  Love shown by action.

21  “…I have sinned against heaven and in your sight…”
The first time I remember hearing this preached, I was very young and hadn’t read the story for myself.  I remember thinking I hope the young man apologized to his father as he planned.  Was impressed when he did.  Or at least he started to before the father interrupted.

22-24  “But the father said…my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found…”
The father wasn’t having any talk of the son being anything but his son.  Such was the love of the father.  The actions of the son had no bearing on the father’s love.  So it is with our Father.  We sometimes say He loves us in spite of us or our actions, but that misses the point.  He loves us period.  Our actions, good or bad, have no bearing on His great love for us.  That’s the way we should love also.  Love that is conditional isn’t love.  Actions may have to be taken, but love is still there.

25  “Now his older son was in the field…”
You wonder why Jesus added this part of the story.  Almost like we’ve changed direction.  I think He wanted to show that nothing stood in the way of the father’s love for his sons.  One did bad while the other did good, but the love of the father was the same.  There’s quite a bit in the actions and words of the older son, but Jesus doesn’t address that.  Wish He had.  Raises some good questions.

29  “…you never gave me a young goat…”
Makes one wonder why.  One of the questions I mentioned.  He accuses the father of not giving him something, like the father’s just done with the younger son.  But could it be that the older son never asked for anything?  Was he actually saying the father had never made a big deal over him like he was doing with the younger now?  I realize it’s a parable, but Jesus certainly had something in mind to tell it this way.  Interesting questions.

31  “…all that I have is yours”
This makes me think the son just never asked for anything specific.  Perhaps he was thinking the father should have shown appreciation to him by calling for a celebration in his honor.  The father tells him he already had all of that.  The father had already shown his appreciation by giving all he had to the son.

32  “It was right that we should make merry…”
The father and his love are the focus.  Love for both sons.  He had lost one and found him.  Joy and celebration are called for.  That doesn’t lessen his love for the son that never left, it only shows that his great love is there.  Had the other brother had an issue, the father’s love would have been expressed toward him the same way.  Common theme in all three parables, celebration by the owner of the return of what was valued, and their desire to search for the missing until it was found.  The way God deals with us.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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