A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” So he divided to them his livelihood. Luke 15:11, 12. (Read Luke 15:11-32.)
It was to answer the accusation of the scribes and Pharisees to the effect that Jesus chose the companionship of sinners that He spake the parables concerning the lost sheep, the lost silver, and the prodigal son, and in these presentations showed that His mission to the world was not to make miserable, not to condemn and destroy, but to recover that which was lost…. These were the very ones that needed a Savior….
The prodigal son was not a dutiful son, not one who would please his father, but one who desired his own way…. The tender sympathy and love of his father were misinterpreted, and the more patient, kind, and benevolent the father acted, the more restless the son became. He thought his liberty was restricted, for his idea of liberty was wild license, and as he craved to be independent of all authority, he broke loose from all the restraint of his father’s house, and soon spent his fortune in riotous living. A great famine arose in the country in which he sojourned, and in his hunger he would fain have filled himself with the husks that the swine did eat….
He had no one now to say: “Do not do that, for you will do injury to yourself. Do this, because it is right.” … Starvation stared him in the face, and he joined himself to a citizen of the place. He was sent to do the most menial of work—to feed the swine. Although this to a Jew was the most disreputable of callings, yet he was willing to do anything, so great was his need….
He is suffering keen hunger, and cannot fill his want, and, under these circumstances he remembers that his father has bread enough and to spare, and resolves to go to his father…. Having made this decision, he does not wait to make himself more respectable…. “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” …
The home looks just as it did when he left it; but what a difference there is in himself…. The father does not give him a chance to say, “Make me as one of thy hired servants.” The welcome he receives assures him that he is reinstated to the place of son.—Signs of the Times, January 29, 1894.