The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Dear Parents,
This week we looked at the Parable of the Prodigal Son. If you remember, we began eight weeks ago with the Parable of the Lost Sheep, learning about how God seeks and saves the Lost. This week’s parable shows just how much God is willing to do that. Grab a Bible and ask your children to tell you what a parable is. Jesus used parables when he was teaching. A parable is a story about something that you already know about, which helps you to understand something about God and his kingdom.

Ask your students to turn in their Bibles to Luke 15:11—

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Ask & Discuss:
• Who is the father in this story?
• Who are the sons? (prodigal & one who stayed home)? What in the Bible story makes you think this?
• What made the prodigal son return to his family’s home?
o Did you expect him to be welcomed back, or for the family to be angry?
• Why do you think the father had such a big celebration when the prodigal son came home?
• What can you learn about God from this story (how did the father treat his sons – the one who stayed and the lost one)?

Pray together thanking God for how he welcomes each of us back, no matter what we have done.

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