The Prodigal Son | Luke 15:11-31

Welcome to Real Life. We call it “The Prodigal Son.” However, the parable is really more about the father. The religious leaders were accusing Jesus of welcoming sinners. He tells this story to help them understand the heart of our Father God.


It’s been a long day. I’m tired. Since Peter left, most days feel long. Without my son’s help, my workload has greatly increased. But, my exhaustion is more emotional than physical. I ache for Peter. Will I ever see him again? Where is he? He should be home, here, with me. I have so much to say, to teach, to give him. How do you love a child so far away?

Peter’s departure didn't shock me. I sensed his growing discontent. But, it was his demand for an early inheritance that gauged a hole in my heart. He might as well have said, “I wish you were dead, Father.”

I begged Peter to see the folly of his decision. He left anyway. How do you force an adult son to change his mind, to stay home, to love his father? It’s impossible. Love is a choice. It can’t be forced.

After supper, as is my habit, I climb my favorite hill alone. With each step, I quote a favorite psalm, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.”[1] My utterance turns to prayer, the same prayer I say twenty times a day, “Help him, Lord! Keep him safe. Please, bring my boy home.”

At the summit, I stop to take in the view. To the east lay our village, a jumble of stone dwellings encircling the synagogue. A dirt road weaves its way through the center. My eyes trace the road beyond the town to where it disappears in the hills on the horizon.

Far off, on that road, I see a lone figure approaching on foot. I can barely make out the form. So, I watch awhile, curious. Who’d be traveling this late in the day? As he nears the village, his gait seems familiar. Can it be? But, the traveler’s slight frame doesn't match my son’s muscular build. I can’t be sure. I have to see.

I bound like a deer down the hill to the road. On level ground, my view is obstructed by the buildings. My heart races with my feet towards the village. The figure reappears. At closer range, I’m convinced. It’s my Peter! I take off running.

As we meet, he falls to his knees before me, “I acted like a fool. I treated you terribly. I’m so sorry, Father. I’m not worthy to be your son anymore. Please, just let me work as one of your hired servants.”

I pull him up into a warm embrace. Once solid and muscular, I can feel his bones through a thread-bare tunic. I shudder as I think of what he's endured. In tears, I whisper, “Servant? Are you crazy?” I take off my gold ring and put it on his finger. I place my embroidered robe around his shoulders. “Welcome home, my son!”

Taking it further …
[1] Psalm 121:1b-2


  1. I love this vivid retelling from the Father's point of view. It was like the son said "I wish you dead." I am so very thankful that God welcomes me home.

    1. Hi, Sean. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I'm so grateful he welcomes me home, too!

  2. Hi.

    Your perspective and version of The Prodigal Son is beautifully written. It tugs on your heart strings in a different way. I hope you have many more articles.


    1. Hi Darlene. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your encouragement!

  3. I am always touched by this story. The father RUNS to the son. He doesn't listen to the request the son makes. He loves his son unconditionally. What a wonderful view of God's love for us.

    1. Hi, Friend. This story always touches me, too. It makes me long for the day I'll see His face!

  4. We have a wonderful Father - and He even pleads with the elder son who thought he was good.

    1. Hi David,
      Yes, we do have a wonderful Father! I left out the elder son part for brevity. But, that encounter is equally powerful. The longer I walk with Jesus, the easier it is for me to slip into the mindset of the elder son.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, David!


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