Luke 15:11-32

A story about two sons

11 Jesus then told another story: ‘There was a man that had two sons. 12 The younger son went to his father and said to him, “Father, please give me now my part of your things.” So the father gave both sons the part of his things that each of them should have. 13 After a few days, the younger son sold what his father had given to him. Then he took all the money and left home. He went on a long journey to a country far away. There, he did whatever he wanted to do and wasted all his money. 14 After he had spent everything, there was no rain in that country. There was almost no food anywhere. So the young man had nothing to eat. 15 He went to a man who lived in that country. He asked to work for him. So the man sent him into his fields to give food to his pigs. 16 Nobody gave him anything to eat. He even wanted to eat the food that the pigs were eating. But he had nothing.

15:11In this story, the father is like God. He lets us do what we want. We may do many bad things, but he waits for us to come back. He waits for us to turn away from bad things. When we turn back to him, he is very happy.

17 Then the son began to think about what he had done. He said to himself, “My father has many servants, and they have plenty of food to eat. They even have more food than they need. But I will die here because I do not have any food. 18 So I will go to my father and tell him, ‘I have done bad things against God, and I have done bad things against you. 19 So I am not good enough for you to call me your son any longer. Instead, please accept me as one of your servants.’ ”

20 So he went off to return to his father. But he was still a long way from the house when his father saw him. He felt very sorry for his son and he ran towards him. Then he put his arms round his son and he kissed him. 21 “Father,” the son said, “I have done bad things against God and against you. So I am not good enough for you to call me your son.” 22 But the father shouted to his servants. “Hurry!” he said. “Fetch the most beautiful coat that we have. Put it on him and also put a ring on his finger. Put shoes on his feet. 23 Fetch the young cow that we keep ready to eat on a special day. It is already fat. Kill it and prepare it. We will eat a big meal and we will be happy together. 24 I thought that my son here was dead. But now he has returned to me and he is alive! I thought that he had left me for all time. But now he has come home.” Then they all began to be happy together.

25 While these things were happening, the older son was working in the field. On his way back to the house, he heard music. People were dancing. 26 So he asked one of the servants, “What is happening?” 27 The servant replied, “Your brother has returned home. Your father has killed the fat young cow for him. He did this because your brother is alive and he is well.” 28 When the older brother heard this, he was very angry. He would not go into the house. So his father came out. “Please come in to be happy with us,” he said. 29 “Listen,” the older son replied, “I have worked a lot for you for many years. I have always obeyed you. But you never even killed a young goat for me so that I could be happy with my friends. We could have had a meal together. 30 But now this other son of yours has returned. He has wasted all the money that you gave to him. He has spent it on prostitutes. But you have even killed the fat young cow for him.” 31 “My son,” his father said, “you are always with me. All the things that I have are yours. 32 We thought that your brother was dead. But now he has returned to us alive. We thought that he had left us for all time. But now he has come home. So we must all be happy together.” ’

15:25The older son was like the Pharisees. Many of them thought that they had never done anything wrong. So they were not happy when bad people came to Jesus.