6 – The Selfish Son

Luke 15:11–24

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.

Luke 15:11-24 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Did you know?

  • Jesus’ little stories were called ‘parables’.
  • God commands us to honour our parents. The son did not give honour to his father.
  • ‘A foreign country’ is where Gentiles live, and it is unclean for Jews.
  • Jews think pigs are unclean.

The meaning of the story

This is a story of a son who has no respect for his father. He broke his father’s heart.

After he wasted all the money his father gave him, he was poor, lonely, sad and very hungry. He then understood how selfish he had been. He knew that he was a sinner. He decided to go back home and tell his father that he was very sorry.

But the son knew that he had another Father. He had a Father in heaven. When we sin against someone here on earth we also sin against God. So, the son also told God that he was very sorry for what he had done.

What would the father do when he saw his son? Would he shut the door in his face? Would the father make him work like a slave? The son received a wonderful surprise. The father was very happy to see his son, and he forgave him all the bad things he had done.

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is God’s Son, and in this story he shows us what his Heavenly Father is like. God loves us. God wants to forgive our sins and bring us into his family. We become a part of God’s family by saying sorry to God and the people we have sinned against. We can be sure that God will forgive us when we say we are sorry, because he loves us.

Thinking about the story

  1. Why did the son ask for his share of the property?
  2. Why did the father give his son his share of the property?
  3. What did the son do with all this money?
  4. Why did the son go home?
  5. Why did the father take his son back again?
  6. Why did the father have a party?