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After Jesus tells the first two parables concerning the lost sheep and the lost coin in 15:1-10, he tells another parable about a man who had two sons. This is known popularly as The Prodigal Son. The word ‚Äúprodigal‚ÄĚ usually is used as an adjective describing one's waste of resources such as one taking his inheritance and being recklessly extravagant. But the word prodigal simply means ‚Äúabundantly lavish‚ÄĚ. While the son in our parable is recklessly lavish with his inheritance, it is God and His character that is primarily revealed here in the story and he is abundantly (not recklessly) lavish in his grace toward sinners.
As we approach these parables, let us be reminded of an important purpose of the parables. A purpose of parables is to reveal the character of God; that is, what he is like. A parable reveals the Kingdom, but it also conceals it from those who do not have ears to hear and eyes to see given by God alone (cf. Luke 8:1-15; Matthew 13):
To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.' (Luke 8:10).
Pastor of Ketoctin Covenant Presbyterian Church in Purcellville, VA. Been a preacher for over 15 years; been pastor of KCPC for 8 years. Graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Ordained in Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Married to Margaret Ann for 20 years and...