The Depravity Of The Prodigal Son

It is written:

“The younger son said to his father, ‘Give me now the part of your property that I am supposed to receive someday.’ So the father divided his wealth between his two sons.” (Luke 15:12)

In he Parable of the Prodigal Son, we read about the request of this young man to be granted his inheritance while his father was still alive. This was a horrible thing to do, especially in that day and age!

“This was perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Prodigal Son’s behavior. For a son in that culture to request his inheritance early was tantamount to saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead. You are in the way of my plans. You are a barrier. I want my freedom. I want my fulfillment. And I want out of this family now. I have other plans that don’t involve you; they don’t involve this family; they don’t involve this estate; they don’t even involve this village. I want nothing to do with any of you. Give me my inheritance now, and I am out of here.”… Any son who made such a breathtakingly inappropriate request from a healthy father would have been regarded as the lowest form of miscreant. It was not his prerogative to demand his inheritance early…. Any son who made such a brazen demand could expect to be written off as dead by his father. Evidently that mattered little to this reckless son. In fact, that would give him the freedom he craved. If he managed to get the early inheritance to boot, so much the better…. So a son guilty of dishonoring his father to this degree could well expect to be dispossessed of everything he had and then permanently dismissed from the family. Reckoned as dead. That’s how serious this breach was. As a matter of fact, that is reflected when the Prodigal comes back and the father says, “This my son was dead” (v. 24). The father says it again to the older brother: “Your brother was dead” (v. 32). It was not uncommon in that time and place to hold an actual funeral for a child who insolently abandoned home and family in this way. Even today in strict Jewish families, parents will sometimes say “kaddish” (the formal recitation of a funeral prayer) over a son or daughter who is disowned for this kind of behavior. Once disowned by a father, there was almost no way for a rebellious child to come back and regain his position in the family. If wanted back at all, he must make restitution for whatever dishonor he caused the family and for whatever possessions he might have taken when he ran away. Even then, he might expect to forfeit many of the rights that he previously enjoyed as a family member. He could certainly forget about receiving any further inheritance. The lines of family honor were clear to everyone in society.” (John MacArthur, A Tale Of Two Sons, 45-47 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson)

Every sinner, at one time or another, has been the Prodigal Son. We deserve the holy wrath and punishment of God. Yet if we will come to our senses and return to Him, we are met with grace and forgiveness.

17 “The son realized that he had been very foolish. He thought, ‘All my father’s hired workers have plenty of food. But here I am, almost dead because I have nothing to eat. 18 I will leave and go to my father. I will say to him: Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But let me be like one of your hired workers.’ 20 So he left and went to his father. “While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him coming and felt sorry for him. So he ran to him and hugged and kissed him. 21 The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and good sandals on his feet. 23 And bring our best calf and kill it so that we can celebrate with plenty to eat. 24 My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to have a party.” (Luke 15:17-24)

Even today, the Father is looking and waiting for you to return to Him.

“Peter said to them, “Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Then God will forgive your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

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