The Parable of the Prodigal Son Study

Last night we had a bunch of people over to end our study of the parable of the prodigal son.  As in the parable we ended in a feast. IT was a great time of friendship and even our Pastor and his family joined us.   I just let things flow and listend to the conversation and loved that fact that my younger daughter just tended to listening to the adults talk and my older daughter just took over naturally watching the kids without being told.

The study was something I was highly passionate about and it symbolized my own personal walk with God and mirrored many of the experiences in my life.  People dont realize this but the parable of the Prodigal Son is really about intimacy, honesty, relationship and its a scripture that points to a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. The parable asks us to change the ways of both our irreligious sin (younger brother) and religious sin (elder brother)….. but what people dont realize is that this is a parable where   Jesus  cries  out to the religious, elder brother to repent of her or his religious sin and religious pride.   Another way to say this is that God wants us to repent from seeking to get our worth out of eatting from the tree of knowledge of good and evil as opposed to getting our worth from the tree of life (Christ).  Religious pride, or seeking to get our righteoussness from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (phil 3:7-11) as opposed to getting our righteussness from the proper place, in Christ (Rom 1:16-17),  is something that normally goes overlooked in many Christian circles and most Christians are either blind to it or feel self justified for engaging in it. 

I have a past where if you knew it you would probably think I was not eligible to teach a bible study.  However, it was due to this past and a recovery of this intimate, closeness with both Jesus and my wife  that I wanted to teach the study.  The parable also mirrors my Christian walk and personal experiences.    A past where my marriage relationship struggled… a past where Christians wanted to remove me from their lives and close friendships were brokend in the midst of our sin struggles as a person was unwilling to deal with her religious pharasaical pride.  Thats enough said about this…. but its a part of my story that runs deep.

The study is over…. and I plan on teaching it again at some point next year. I encourage everyone to read Tim Kellers book “The Prodigal God”.   A study on the parable of the prodigal son.

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9 thoughts on “The Parable of the Prodigal Son Study

  1. Pingback: Ask the leadership coach » The Parable of the Prodigal Son Study « Spadino Family’s Weblog

  2. theoldadam

    Jon,

    Glad to hear you are doing Bible stidies in your home.

    Keep up the good work and never forget to accuse them with the law…and raise them with the gospel!

  3. theoldadam

    Way to go, Jon!

    That part of us that hangs onto the attitude of the older brother is also quite damning.

    Good to shed light on the whole of that parable.

  4. Ike

    Most of us have a past that “we” think would disqualify us! Our wonderful Lord has a way to take a tragedy…….even the sin in our lives……and turn it around for His glory and “our” good!!!

    Do you know about the story of the “Prodigal Pig”?

    2 Peter 2:22, “It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

    Peter speaks of these false teachers, using the term “dog”. To the Jewish mind there was nothing lower than a dog. Peter draws from Proverbs 26:11 to show that they will return to their true, natural, unchanged condition. “And the sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” It is Simon Peter who gives us the parable of the prodigal pig. You may never have heard the parable of the prodigal pig, but here it is. It is, of course, based on the parable of the Prodigal Son, which is one of the greatest parables the Lord Jesus ever gave (Luke 15:11-32).

    The interesting thing now is that Peter say’s. “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” Now we can add something to the parable of the Prodigal Son. One of these little pigs in the pigpen said to the Prodigal Son, “You say you want to leave this lovely pigpen with all of this nice mud and filth, and you want to go up to your father’s house? That sounds good; in fact, you’ve sold me. I think maybe I’d like to go up there with you and try it myself.”

    So the Prodigal Son told him, “If you go up there, things are sure going to be different! You are going to have to clean up.” When they got to the father’s house, the father put his arms around the boy and said, “Bring forth the robe.” Actually, he could smell those clothes his son had been wearing in the pigpen, and what he really meant was, “Give him a good bath and then put a new robe on him. He can’t smell like that or live like that in my house.”

    The little pig went with the Prodigal Son, and he had to get all cleaned up too. They washed this little pig up nicely and tied a pink ribbon around his neck. They brushed his teeth, and the little pig went squealing through the house. But it was only a couple of days until the little pig came to the Prodigal Son with a downcast look and said, “Prodigal Son, I don’t like it here.”

    And the son said, “Why, I am having the best time I’ve ever had in my life since I came home, and you say you don’t like it here! What’s wrong?”

    The little pig replied, “I don’t like this idea of having white sheets on the bed. If we could just get a place where there is plenty of good, sloppy mud, I could sleep better there.”

    “We just don’t do that here in the father’s house, said the Prodigal Son, ” You just can’t live in a pigpen here.”

    “Another thing I don’t like is sitting at a table, using a knife and fork, and having a white tablecloth, and eating out of a plate. Why couldn’t we have a trough down on the floor and put everything in there? We could all jump in and have the biggest time of our lives.”

    “We don’t do that here in my father’s house!” said the son.

    And the little pig said, “Well, I think I’ll rise and go to my father.”

    His old man wasn’t in that house, and so he started back to his home. He had been all cleaned up, but he went back to the pigpen and found his old man right down in the middle of the biggest mud hole you’ve ever seen-mud all around him, dirty, filthy, and smelly, That little old pig began to squeal and made a leap for it. He jumped in right beside his father, saying, “Old Man, I sure am glad to get back home!” You know why? Because he was a pig!

  5. Ike

    Some take the position that the prodigal son was unregenerate. I always viewed it as a “son” who went to the pigpen and because he was a “son”………he would not stay in the pigpen. How do you view it?

  6. Jon Spadino

    Hi Ike,

    The parable of the Prodigal Son story is a bit mislabelled. The story was actually being told in light of the Pharisees so the intent of the story needs this as a back drop! Read the initial part of this Chapter of Luke. So what people do is they see it almost exclusively as a story for the younger brother. This is an important part of the story. However, people that have completely squandered everything like a younger brother that have come to the end of everything have come to repentance. I see the younger brother as completely repentant and completely accepted and forgiven by the Father (ie God). When the younger brother is about to start telling all the things he thinks he need to do toe earn his way back the Father God the father says Quick, Clothe Him, slaughter the best calf, throw him a feast for one he was lost and now he is found.

    The harder part of the story is the elder brother… who once again is symbolic for the religious, keeper of biblical truth pharisee. Yes, its about the pride of the pharisee… but its also about a very special, insideously difficult kind of pride. Its about religious pride that looks religious but also wants something for itself as it strives for religious performane or comparative Christianity. Other parables on the religious, elder brother, pharisee tell us how the pharisees even keep the kingdom of heaven from seekers and make the doorway of heaven smaller than it really is.

    Matthew 23
    13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.[c]

    15″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

    Christians that think like phariseses continue to inoculate people against the Christian CHurch still today and many people attending Church are Church hopping or hanging out at the outter fringes of the CHurch, in my opinion and feeling too unworthy around the this religious type of pride. Today, Religious pride continues to go unchecked in peoples hearts. Its especially difficult to remove and people often feel self justified and often godly for engaging in it.

    The parable of the prodigal son seeks to remove irreligious, worldly pride and sin as much as religious pride and sin. It tries to see how lost and sinful we are at a much deeper level because it sees the idolatry of both religious and irreligious sin and that the source of both irreligious and religious sin come from the same source.

    I highly recommend Tim Kellers book.

    I also recommend you read this parable in light of two kinds of righteoussness that people can have:

    Philippians 3:7-12 (New International Version)

    7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

    Pressing on Toward the Goal
    12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

    Here it basically says that the principal point of the law is no so much to teach us how to lead good lives. The point of the law is to lead us to how deep our need is for a saviour. When Christ said “It is finished”, it means it is finished I have assurance that no matther what I do yesterday, today, or tomorrow I will also have Christ.

    This might lead people to ask the question is there a loophole in grace to sin. Paul answers this question very well in Romans. What I want to add to this is that the difference between pharasaical obedience and Gospel, Cross centered obedience is Pharasaical obedience says “if you obey, you are accepted” and Gospel, Cross Centered obedience says “you are accepted, therefore you start to obey”.

    Romans 12
    Living Sacrifices
    1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship.

    The words, in view of Gods Mercy is what makes the passage above.

    Now you asked the question if the younger brother never goes back to the mud. Thats not in the story and it does not matter because in CHrist we have forgiveness for past, present, and future sins. Future sins have the capability to point us to a deeper need for Jesus Christ and a deeper repentance and to more fully rest in what Christ did for us on the Cross.

  7. willohroots

    There is a past that precludes service to the Lord? Glad I don’t know about that. My church is comprised of repentant sinners, with the chief among them in the pulpit. No one can reach the lost like a man or woman who values the map of the Bible and the compass of the Holy Spirit.

  8. Joe

    Jon,

    Echoing what Willohroots said…be encouraged, brother.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned from my new Christian blogger brothers (Hello Ike and Will!!!) is that we are all sinful men, broken and undeserving of the love and grace of our heavenly Father. (Okay, I’ll just speak for myself….)

    Since I started my blog in January, I’ve come under spiritual attacks like: “You hypocrite! Why do you have that blog when you and your wife just had a fight!” “Do you really think anyone should listen to you? What kind of example are you?” And on and on, ad nauseum. Those are nothing but the devil trying to keep us from shining our little light to a dark world.

    I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s not. But we can do all things through Christ Jesus. He’s the vine, we are merely the branches.

  9. Signifier

    Jon,
    Good to read about your study. I have come back to the prodigal story again and again in the last year from all different sides. I like Willohroots comment about a past that precludes service. There may be a present that precludes service, but I also am in a church full of repentant hairy stinkers serving as the Lord leads.

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son Study

Last night we had a bunch of people over to end our study of the parable of the prodigal son.  As in the parable we ended in a feast. IT was a great time of friendship and even our Pastor and his family joined us.   I just let things flow and listend to the conversation and loved that fact that my younger daughter just tended to listening to the adults talk and my older daughter just took over naturally watching the kids without being told.

The study was something I was highly passionate about and it symbolized my own personal walk with God and mirrored many of the experiences in my life.  People dont realize this but the parable of the Prodigal Son is really about intimacy, honesty, relationship and its a scripture that points to a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. The parable asks us to change the ways of both our irreligious sin (younger brother) and religious sin (elder brother)….. but what people dont realize is that this is a parable where   Jesus  cries  out to the religious, elder brother to repent of her or his religious sin and religious pride.   Another way to say this is that God wants us to repent from seeking to get our worth out of eatting from the tree of knowledge of good and evil as opposed to getting our worth from the tree of life (Christ).  Religious pride, or seeking to get our righteoussness from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (phil 3:7-11) as opposed to getting our righteussness from the proper place, in Christ (Rom 1:16-17),  is something that normally goes overlooked in many Christian circles and most Christians are either blind to it or feel self justified for engaging in it. 

I have a past where if you knew it you would probably think I was not eligible to teach a bible study.  However, it was due to this past and a recovery of this intimate, closeness with both Jesus and my wife  that I wanted to teach the study.  The parable also mirrors my Christian walk and personal experiences.    A past where my marriage relationship struggled… a past where Christians wanted to remove Continue reading

9 thoughts on “The Parable of the Prodigal Son Study

  1. Pingback: Ask the leadership coach » The Parable of the Prodigal Son Study « Spadino Family’s Weblog

  2. theoldadam

    Jon,

    Glad to hear you are doing Bible stidies in your home.

    Keep up the good work and never forget to accuse them with the law…and raise them with the gospel!

  3. theoldadam

    Way to go, Jon!

    That part of us that hangs onto the attitude of the older brother is also quite damning.

    Good to shed light on the whole of that parable.

  4. Ike

    Most of us have a past that “we” think would disqualify us! Our wonderful Lord has a way to take a tragedy…….even the sin in our lives……and turn it around for His glory and “our” good!!!

    Do you know about the story of the “Prodigal Pig”?

    2 Peter 2:22, “It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

    Peter speaks of these false teachers, using the term “dog”. To the Jewish mind there was nothing lower than a dog. Peter draws from Proverbs 26:11 to show that they will return to their true, natural, unchanged condition. “And the sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” It is Simon Peter who gives us the parable of the prodigal pig. You may never have heard the parable of the prodigal pig, but here it is. It is, of course, based on the parable of the Prodigal Son, which is one of the greatest parables the Lord Jesus ever gave (Luke 15:11-32).

    The interesting thing now is that Peter say’s. “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” Now we can add something to the parable of the Prodigal Son. One of these little pigs in the pigpen said to the Prodigal Son, “You say you want to leave this lovely pigpen with all of this nice mud and filth, and you want to go up to your father’s house? That sounds good; in fact, you’ve sold me. I think maybe I’d like to go up there with you and try it myself.”

    So the Prodigal Son told him, “If you go up there, things are sure going to be different! You are going to have to clean up.” When they got to the father’s house, the father put his arms around the boy and said, “Bring forth the robe.” Actually, he could smell those clothes his son had been wearing in the pigpen, and what he really meant was, “Give him a good bath and then put a new robe on him. He can’t smell like that or live like that in my house.”

    The little pig went with the Prodigal Son, and he had to get all cleaned up too. They washed this little pig up nicely and tied a pink ribbon around his neck. They brushed his teeth, and the little pig went squealing through the house. But it was only a couple of days until the little pig came to the Prodigal Son with a downcast look and said, “Prodigal Son, I don’t like it here.”

    And the son said, “Why, I am having the best time I’ve ever had in my life since I came home, and you say you don’t like it here! What’s wrong?”

    The little pig replied, “I don’t like this idea of having white sheets on the bed. If we could just get a place where there is plenty of good, sloppy mud, I could sleep better there.”

    “We just don’t do that here in the father’s house, said the Prodigal Son, ” You just can’t live in a pigpen here.”

    “Another thing I don’t like is sitting at a table, using a knife and fork, and having a white tablecloth, and eating out of a plate. Why couldn’t we have a trough down on the floor and put everything in there? We could all jump in and have the biggest time of our lives.”

    “We don’t do that here in my father’s house!” said the son.

    And the little pig said, “Well, I think I’ll rise and go to my father.”

    His old man wasn’t in that house, and so he started back to his home. He had been all cleaned up, but he went back to the pigpen and found his old man right down in the middle of the biggest mud hole you’ve ever seen-mud all around him, dirty, filthy, and smelly, That little old pig began to squeal and made a leap for it. He jumped in right beside his father, saying, “Old Man, I sure am glad to get back home!” You know why? Because he was a pig!

  5. Ike

    Some take the position that the prodigal son was unregenerate. I always viewed it as a “son” who went to the pigpen and because he was a “son”………he would not stay in the pigpen. How do you view it?

  6. Jon Spadino

    Hi Ike,

    The parable of the Prodigal Son story is a bit mislabelled. The story was actually being told in light of the Pharisees so the intent of the story needs this as a back drop! Read the initial part of this Chapter of Luke. So what people do is they see it almost exclusively as a story for the younger brother. This is an important part of the story. However, people that have completely squandered everything like a younger brother that have come to the end of everything have come to repentance. I see the younger brother as completely repentant and completely accepted and forgiven by the Father (ie God). When the younger brother is about to start telling all the things he thinks he need to do toe earn his way back the Father God the father says Quick, Clothe Him, slaughter the best calf, throw him a feast for one he was lost and now he is found.

    The harder part of the story is the elder brother… who once again is symbolic for the religious, keeper of biblical truth pharisee. Yes, its about the pride of the pharisee… but its also about a very special, insideously difficult kind of pride. Its about religious pride that looks religious but also wants something for itself as it strives for religious performane or comparative Christianity. Other parables on the religious, elder brother, pharisee tell us how the pharisees even keep the kingdom of heaven from seekers and make the doorway of heaven smaller than it really is.

    Matthew 23
    13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.[c]

    15″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

    Christians that think like phariseses continue to inoculate people against the Christian CHurch still today and many people attending Church are Church hopping or hanging out at the outter fringes of the CHurch, in my opinion and feeling too unworthy around the this religious type of pride. Today, Religious pride continues to go unchecked in peoples hearts. Its especially difficult to remove and people often feel self justified and often godly for engaging in it.

    The parable of the prodigal son seeks to remove irreligious, worldly pride and sin as much as religious pride and sin. It tries to see how lost and sinful we are at a much deeper level because it sees the idolatry of both religious and irreligious sin and that the source of both irreligious and religious sin come from the same source.

    I highly recommend Tim Kellers book.

    I also recommend you read this parable in light of two kinds of righteoussness that people can have:

    Philippians 3:7-12 (New International Version)

    7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

    Pressing on Toward the Goal
    12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

    Here it basically says that the principal point of the law is no so much to teach us how to lead good lives. The point of the law is to lead us to how deep our need is for a saviour. When Christ said “It is finished”, it means it is finished I have assurance that no matther what I do yesterday, today, or tomorrow I will also have Christ.

    This might lead people to ask the question is there a loophole in grace to sin. Paul answers this question very well in Romans. What I want to add to this is that the difference between pharasaical obedience and Gospel, Cross centered obedience is Pharasaical obedience says “if you obey, you are accepted” and Gospel, Cross Centered obedience says “you are accepted, therefore you start to obey”.

    Romans 12
    Living Sacrifices
    1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship.

    The words, in view of Gods Mercy is what makes the passage above.

    Now you asked the question if the younger brother never goes back to the mud. Thats not in the story and it does not matter because in CHrist we have forgiveness for past, present, and future sins. Future sins have the capability to point us to a deeper need for Jesus Christ and a deeper repentance and to more fully rest in what Christ did for us on the Cross.

  7. willohroots

    There is a past that precludes service to the Lord? Glad I don’t know about that. My church is comprised of repentant sinners, with the chief among them in the pulpit. No one can reach the lost like a man or woman who values the map of the Bible and the compass of the Holy Spirit.

  8. Joe

    Jon,

    Echoing what Willohroots said…be encouraged, brother.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned from my new Christian blogger brothers (Hello Ike and Will!!!) is that we are all sinful men, broken and undeserving of the love and grace of our heavenly Father. (Okay, I’ll just speak for myself….)

    Since I started my blog in January, I’ve come under spiritual attacks like: “You hypocrite! Why do you have that blog when you and your wife just had a fight!” “Do you really think anyone should listen to you? What kind of example are you?” And on and on, ad nauseum. Those are nothing but the devil trying to keep us from shining our little light to a dark world.

    I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s not. But we can do all things through Christ Jesus. He’s the vine, we are merely the branches.

  9. Signifier

    Jon,
    Good to read about your study. I have come back to the prodigal story again and again in the last year from all different sides. I like Willohroots comment about a past that precludes service. There may be a present that precludes service, but I also am in a church full of repentant hairy stinkers serving as the Lord leads.

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