The Prodigal Son: Bible Story Summary, Analysis and Themes

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

The parable of the Prodigal Son is a story about God’s redemptive grace and mercy.  It is a story of His unconditional love and forgiveness.  It is about God seeking sinners.  In Luke 15, Jesus tells about the youngest son coming to his father to ask for his inheritance ahead of time.  The youngest son would only receive one-third of the father’s inheritance in accord to the Old Testament laws in Deuteronomy 21:17.  He then took the inheritance and ran away to spend it all on having a good time. He had plenty of “friends” to help him spend it but quickly ran out of his inheritance funds.  Then he was reduced to working in a pig pen and the pigs ate better than he.  For a Jew, to tend to pigs was the height of humiliation since they were deemed unclean according to the Old Testament dietary laws.  He thought of his father’s servants who were at least fed well and had shelter at night.  The young son had reached the end of his rope and came back home. He was accepted with open arms by his father.  The older son was outraged; he was angry that his father had allowed his brother to return and even more disturbing was the gift of  a rob, a ring, and a pair of sandals and a huge feast, in his honor, with the choicest of the fatted calves.

Key Questions to Consider for Prodigal Son Parable

Why would Jesus tell this parable with the religious leaders and the Jewish crowd there?  What would there reaction have been?  What would the Jewish leaders have done to the son when he came back home?  Why did Jesus feel the need to tell this parable to the Jewish leaders?

Commentary and Analysis

Jewish Culture and Background

When the young son came to his father to ask for his inheritance, in the Jewish culture of that day, it was like he was saying, “I wish you were dead!”  This was highly unconventional and was insulting of the father.  This is what the Jewish leaders understood and in their minds, they would not have received the young son back into the family.  In fact he would have been disinherited or even stoned as was done in the ancient Jewish culture in the Old Testament. He would have been disowned and he would not have been allowed to return at part of the father’s family.

Who Does the Youngest Son Represent?

The youngest son represents all of those who have been called by God and for whatever reason; they have placed one foot in the world and one foot in the church.  When God chastises those Who He has redeemed, as any loving father would, He brings them to their knees and they see their need for repentance and return to God and ask for His forgiveness.  This can not be a picture of the lost because they would never have been a child of the father in the first place.  Unbelievers are children of the devil as Jesus said in John 8:42-44, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. “To the Father’s own, does He give “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Who Does the Father Represent?

The father represents God the Father for He gladly receives His son as part of His family.  The young son returning is a good picture of what repentance is.  He made a change of direction, which is the root meaning of the word repentance.  He returned to the father begging for his forgiveness and acknowledging his sin.  He comes back with nothing to offer, yet the father receives him with joy and celebration.  The son felt unworthy and was remorseful.  The son had come to the end of himself and was in desperate need.

The father, as God the Father does, shows His love is unconditional He accepts him back into the family. In fact the father had been watching and waiting for his son to return.  When the father sees the son approaching, indicating that he had been watching for him, he runs to him and embraces him with open arms. The Jews considered this highly undignified in their culture. The patriarch never ran or never made the first move in such a situation.  Yet this shows that God the Father sought us and called us and that we never initiate our own calling into the Kingdom of Heaven (John 6:44).

Here the Father gives the son what he does not deserve (called grace) and withholds what he actually did deserve (called mercy).  The Father celebrates as he tells the eldest son, “…this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32).  The older brother is filled with anger saying in Luke 15:29-30, “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!’

Who Does the Eldest Son Represent?

The eldest son represents the Jewish leaders.  The religious leaders saw their rewards due for their works.  They didn’t understand that they can bring nothing to the plan of salvation and if they try to earn it, they do not understand how God saves and that it is Jesus’ righteousness alone that accounts them worthy.  No human works can ever earn salvation. The youngest son had nothing to bring, no good works, and came back with barely the shabby cloths on his back. This may be why the father provided a robe for him and sandals for his feet.

In Luke 15:31-32, the father tells the oldest son why he is rejoicing:  “’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.’”

Harmony in the Gospel

The Parable of the Lost Coin in the same chapter, Luke 15:8-10, is similar in nature in how the Father seeks those who are lost: “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’  Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:8-10).

The pursuit is relentless, it is effectual, and it is with great intensity that God the Father seeks those to whom will be His children for now and for eternity.  And God never gives up this pursuit. The Bible emphasizes:

    • there is no one who seeks God (Romans 3:11);
    • that our “Salvation does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:16);
    • that  Jesus tells them plainly that, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:29); and
    • as stated by Paul that, “… he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)

Perhaps He is pursing you now.  If you are reading this, He has either sought you and bought you or He is seeking you now, you who are lost.  It is time to come to the Father through Jesus Christ today as John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Will you come today? Let us know that you came to Jesus on our contact page here: Contact Us. We will rejoice at the news!


Jesus told this parable to the religious and the Jewish crowd there to help them understand that salvation does not come by works, but by the grace of God. The reaction of the crowd was most likely extreme upset and outrage, similar to that of the eldest son.  Jesus was teaching against their tradition and for that they would have been offended and astounded.  As stated in the opening of this commentary, the Jewish people would have disinherited the son or even stoned him to death.  The son’s behavior was highly insulting to the father, as a matter of tradition.  Jesus needed to tell this parable to the Jewish leaders because Jesus came to fulfill the law, thereby making Jewish tradition of a works-based salvation unnecessary (Matthew 5:15-18).


The Holy Bible, New International Version

Youtube “Prodigal” by Casting Crowns

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{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricardo E. Nebres November 15, 2011 at 2:02 am

I have read and heard the parable of the prodigal son several times and it’s only now that i fully vision the representation of the 3 important characters especially the eldest son. The youngest son did not only knew sin but he is ready and willing to ask forgiveness to his father, even though he was not sure because he is willing to work as servant and not son to his father (verse 19),But the loving father still accepted him as his loving son .


Jack November 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Ricardo, thank you sir for your wonderful comment. That was so touching and you are right. God is the Father and looks for us to come to Him and confess our sins but He is always willing to forgive us of all our sins. Isn’t our God an awesome Father God and only because Jesus the Son of God died for us. The loving father loves us who are not worthy but Jesus died for us to make a way to the Father in heaven. I can not wait for that great day and will get to meet all my lost loved ones…and to meet you to my friend. God bless and thank Ricardo. I am glad the story of the Prodigal Son makes more sense now. Please come back to visit and to comment again my friend.


patricia March 18, 2014 at 11:25 am



macx January 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

thank you


Jack January 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Macx, thank you for visiting our website and for your comment. Please come back and visit us again….soon I hope.


Asawa Steven February 14, 2012 at 4:22 am

I read your writeups and they are spiritually, educationally and otherwise. Thank (Steven) Nigeria


Jack February 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Asawa, thank you so very much for your wonderful comment. It is people like you that make this website a wonderful thing to be involved with. All glory to God Asawa and please do come back and visit us again soon my friend. May God be with you in your walk in the Lord.


Asawa Steven February 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I saw your words of spiritual encouragement,sir may you give me clues to deeply search for spiritual education


Jack February 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Asawa, thank you again and let me say that I know nothing about the Bible that was not given to me and so I have no reason to boast. In fact, even Who Jesus Christ is was nothing that I deserve to brag about but was the result of God the Father alone Who showed me the Savior (Matt 16:17) because spiritual knowledge does not come by flesh and blood but is revealed only by God so to Him goes all the glory Asawa.

I believe that you have a hunger for knowledge about God and this shows me that the Holy Spirit is working and active in you. This is evidenced by your comment. Please read this to let me know what you think.

Greetings to you there in Nigeria my friend. God bless. Please come back again.


noel efiong June 12, 2012 at 5:59 am

Dear Jack, your work on the prodical son is awesome and profoundly revealing espcially Jesus opting to say it before the jewish leaders on purpose. Tanx for such a wonderful yieldinng

Paul Montoya March 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Wow thanks. I’m thinking of doing a sermon “my first” for fathers day,and yes I’ll include The Prodigal Son story for some of it. I my self was baptized just a month or so ago. And I felt that this Prodigal Son was very close to what you have stated here. I may just get started to doing a church plant here in Tucson Az
I think friends and family think I’m little off my rocker but who knew but Jesus. To change life goals at 53 broke, underwater, 2 preteen boys, and a loving wife. To bring just one to Jesus is what i’m up for.
Ephesians 6 10-20 (NIV)


Jack March 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Amazing stuff Paul. I know that God can not use us until we are broken and He is more glorified the more difficult the circumstances. I believe you qualify. I remember Charles Swindoll once saying that “God can not use a man greatly until He has hurt him badly…” and you can tell us a few things about that. If we can do anything here for you as far as doctrinal mission statements or so forth, let us know Paul. I seem to remember another Paul who turned the world upside down once! Maybe its time for another “Paul” in Tucson.


LaTanya March 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm

In the story of the prodical son, did the oldest son kill his father?


Jack March 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hello LaTanya. What a beautiful name. The oldest son did not kill the father, no, but the prodigal son, the younger one, asked his father for his inheritance while the father was still living. This is essentially like telling the Prodigal Father to “drop dead…I want my inheritance now!” This is because the inheritance was never given until after the father had died so the Prodigal Son was basically insulting his father and asking for the money now and saying I don’t ever want you to be my father again. Of course, he did come back home, repented, and the Prodigal Father was waiting and watching for him and welcomed him with open arms and a kiss. A grand picture of our Heavenly Father who desires to welcome us into the Kingdom of heaven. Thanks for the question. Please come back again.


Terri April 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Hello. I too am currently studying this text to prepare my first sermon as a minister in training. All the times I have heard it preached or taught, it was always the prodigal son at the center, and rightfully so because of God’s grace and mercy. However, when we look at who Jesus was speaking to, the elder son character stands out. I had never noticed this until reading the entire text and grasping the “Pharisee” religious spirit in the elder son. What if the elder brother would have seen the younger brother first? His unwelcoming spirit could have led the younger brother right back into the world. This is what happens sometimes in our churches. People come back wanting and desiring forgiveness from God, but then someone approaches them in the wrong way or condemn them and that attitude pushes them away from the church sometimes. It took a lot for the prodigal son to return and thank God he made his way back to the father. Love God’s simplicity in this text, but soo profound and powerful. Stay blessed and keep writing, as your study of this text really blessed me.


Jack April 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Hello Terri. God bless your ministry and training. I loved your question as to what if the elder brother had seen his younger, prodigal brother first if the prodigal would still have came. Great point and lesson about receiving those who return to church. I would say that I would think that the elder brother was not looking out for the prodigal to come and was not expecting him too, but since we truly were all prodigals and the Father was waiting for us, it shows that God’s open arms ought to be how we receive them as well. Well said. I am glad this blessed you and as a pastor myself, your own words have blessed me too and I get this feeling that you are going to bless a lot of people with your humble attitude and that of a servant mindset. Please come back again soon.


Rick Spruill May 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm

This is by far my favorite story in the bible. Too much to ever put into a response, but one of the more touching parts of the story for me is the simple phrase “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him…”. The fact that the Father was looking for him, in my mind day after day, shows the tenacity that God has in seeking us out. I think…no I KNOW that we would be blown away if we could see even a glimpse of what God does in our lives to try and get our attention. He loves us. Unconditionally. And longs to see us come into view on the horizon so that he can run to us. Powerful image.


Jack May 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Thank you so much Mr. Spruill. I too loved that section of Father looking for us and that you said, to get a glimpse of God would be unbelievable for sure. In fact, your entire comment is so full of inspiration that i wish I had included it in my article sir. I thank God that you left such a powerful response to this. Thank you sir.


Mmakan Albert June 16, 2012 at 3:31 am

Dear Jack, could you pls answer this question for me? What does the parable of the prodical son teach! Thanks a million! May you be fruitful and over productive . In Jesus name. Amen.


Jack Wellman June 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Hello Mmakan. I believe that the main message of this parable is to show us that the Father is calling us and that He waits with open arms, ready to receive us into the Kingdom. The elder brother thought that he had a right to his inheritance (the inheritance is really the Kingdom of Heaven) due to His being a son of Abraham or a Jew. The elder brother claimed that he had done all of these good things and was serving his father all these years but this shows that he tried to get his inheritance by works and no one is saved by works (Eph 2:8-9). Read Galatians too. Thank you my friend.


Faith July 5, 2012 at 1:40 am

Thank you, though i am not the one who ask. ^_^ God bless you


Ishmael July 9, 2012 at 7:36 am

This is the true demonstration of love by a true loving father.


Jack Wellman July 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Thank you so kindly Ishmael for your wonderful comment. I don’t deserve to be loved so much that Jesus would die for me…and for us. Isn’t our God an awesome God?!


Idowu July 27, 2012 at 1:46 am

Nice commentary, God bless!


Stella Joel July 31, 2012 at 12:35 am

Tank u very much sir, u ve given me an insight of this passage of d scripture, is there any atom of restitution process in this story of d prodigal son, pls Sir, I need a reply.


Jack Wellman July 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Hello Stella. Will be glad to pray for you. This is not a story of restitution really as much as it is a call to regeneration.


Severino M. Lovero August 25, 2012 at 3:29 am

It’s actually a very meaningful story, the word prodigal applied to all of them the younger son who took the inheritance, a father whom rich for mercy or forgiveness and the oldest son who utterly disliked of what the father did to his brother with no mercy at all, that’s why they are called the Prodigal Sons, the father is non other than, God the father with message to all leaders of fairness or equity of treatment to a poor fellow and the rich who still have everything in life, it is a very good story ever been told. Thanks


Jack Wellman August 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hello Severino and thank you. What great insight my friend. You most certainly understand the story like few do. I was that prodigal…and agian, thank you for your comment and we do hope you will come back again my friend.


Austine Iraoya (Nigeria) September 21, 2012 at 9:32 am

Thanks for Your deep sense of understanding and Biblical Exposition. May God enlighten your eyes of understanding the more in Jesus Name. permit me sir to include this article in preparing for sermon. God bless U Sir


Jack Wellman September 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Hello to you Austine Iraoya in Nigeria. God bless you pastor. I hope your sermon goes well. You may certainly use it. Sorry I am responding so late.


Gregorio Buenaventura October 18, 2012 at 4:20 am



Jack Wellman October 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Thank you Gregorio. You could call it the Parable of the Loving Father because that’s what it is about. The title I gave it is what it is commonly called but when Jesus gives this parable, He never actually gave it a title so you make a great point.


Monalee November 28, 2012 at 6:09 am

I am making a play about the prodigal son for our Christmas cantata I found this very helpful. Thank you very much Jack for the nice message. God bless you more!


Bill Lane December 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Thank you for the excellent commentary. I have read the prodigal son many times. I am a believer in Christ alone for my salvation. Today I am repenting for recently straying from God because of my pride. Your article came at a great time. The part I value the most is where you pointed out this story is about believers who have strayed, because unbelievers were never “sons.” This gave me great comfort in knowing as I return through repentance, He “runs” to meet me. Thank you again!


Jack Wellman December 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Hello Mr. Lane. I am overjoyed that you were made to see the need for repentance. So few churches teach about this and I love the fact that today (or whenever you did) you placed your trust in Christ to save you. I so love the story because it shows that God runs to meet us and is so eager to save us that He sent the One and only Unique Son to die in our place (John 3:16-17, 2 Cor 5:21) and that’s why they call it the Good news sir. I am so encouraged by your conversion.


Alice Gibson December 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I am blessed reading your story of the Prodicals. I see a situation of a Christian Prodical/female minister leaving the church due to sexual harrassment then shuned and rejected because she reported the behavior. After attending a few churches and finding so much humanismn, condemnation and judgement. She decides to return to the church/denomination that she left. Christian Prodicals or not lost, they may be in search for a church home where they can continue their spritual calling. I am seeking more in the things of God, and would appreciate a response regarding my comment, thanks and God bless your online ministry.


Jack Wellman December 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Hello Alice. How sad that some Christians do not act very Christian. They will have to give an account to Christ someday for it…not that they will lose their salvation but they will lose many rewards. If you are seeking more about knowing God, this website has over 300 article and simply type up a question or topic in the Google Search box and you will find many to grow in grace and knowledge. God bless you friend.


Silvanus Clarke February 16, 2013 at 7:21 am

Thank you Pastor very insightful message. It is good to know that God love for us never change that there is still hope for the back sliders out there. May God richly bless your ministry.

May I ask you a question, Brethen Church, is it the same as the Brethen Churches in England US and the Caribbean. I am from Jamaica and that is my affiliation. Thanks in advance for your response.


Jack Wellman February 16, 2013 at 11:15 am

Thank you my friend for your comment and question. I don’t believe the denominations are the same. Our’s goes back to the Mennonite, German Baptist roots, but really, ultimately, we have the same Head of the Church and that is Jesus Christ.


Ashcon February 21, 2013 at 2:43 am

Hey jack! That was awesome to read, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom. I was just wondering what you though about this. Do you think that during the prodigal son was out partying and living in sin that he was saved? Like if he would he would have died during his parting stages do you believe be would have gone to heaven?


Jack Wellman February 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thank you Ashcon for your comment and question. I do not believe that prior to this son returning he was ever saved. I say this because the father gives the son what he does not deserve (called grace) and withholds what he actually did deserve (called mercy). The Father also says tells the eldest son, “…this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32). He was dead (in his sins) and that he was lost (unsaved) but now was found (saved). If he had died in his “partying” life, he would have been eternally lost but the point is that the father was looking for him and the son returned (repented) of his own accord. Does this help answer your question?


Ashcon February 23, 2013 at 1:08 am

Yeah that actually answers my question. Thank you very much! I just struggle with wondering when someone who has been living for God for a while and begins to backslide if be or she was ever saved in the first place.


Ashcon February 23, 2013 at 1:18 am

For example, you mentioned that the prodigal son represents someone that has been called by God and has one foot in the world and one foot in with God. But if that person accepted Christ, isn’t he or she still saved? They may not be the strongest Christian in the world because they are struggling with letting go of the world, but wouldn’t you say they are still saved because they accepted The Lord??


Jack Wellman February 23, 2013 at 11:14 am

Thank you Ashcon for your question. I do not remember or can not find where I said that this Prodigal Son had one foot in the world and one foot in with God. I do not believe that prior to this son returning that he was ever saved. I say this because the father gives the son what he does not deserve (called grace) and withholds what he actually did deserve (called mercy). The Father also says tells the eldest son, “…this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32). He was dead (in his sins) and that he was lost (unsaved) but now was found (saved). The son returned and repented so since God grants repentance (2 Tim 2:25) the Prodigal was not a carnal Christian a Christian at all prior to coming to the Father. Again, the Father tells the eldest son, “…this brother of yours was dead (in his sins) and is alive again (born again, i.e. John 3); he was lost (unsaved) and is found (now saved)” (Luke 15:32).

Chris May 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

Sir, I echo Ashcon’s thoughts and was wondering the exact same thing and I read it exactly the way they read it. Based off the statement that was made “This can not be a picture of the lost because they would never have been a child of the father in the first place” lead me to believe that this article supported that the son was simply a backslidden believer. Yet the statement “I do not believe that prior to this son returning that he was ever saved” completely contradicts that. So, I personally believe the second statement you made to Ashcon (February 23, 2013 at 11:14 am). I think the article should be corrected under “Who The Son Represents” so that there are no contradictions to confuse anyone. Other than that, I love the article! Thanks you!


Ashcon February 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Sorry I misread that. You said the youngest son represents someone with one foot in the world and the other foot in the church. But yeah I understand what you are saying. Thank you for answering my questions!


Chris May 15, 2013 at 11:33 am

Ashcon, I appreciate your response because I was wondering the exact same thing and read it exactly the way you read it. Based off the statement that was made “This can not be a picture of the lost because they would never have been a child of the father in the first place” lead me to believe that this article supported that the son was simply a backslidden believer. Yet the statement “I do not believe that prior to this son returning that he was ever saved” completely contradicts that. So, I personally believe the second statement the author made to you (February 23, 2013 at 11:14 am) is right. I think the article should be corrected under “Who The Son Represents” so that there are no contradictions to confuse anyone. Be blessed!


F. Liu February 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

The Prodigal Son, really? How about me? Dear Wellman, I wished i feel Well like a Man, but I am not and i can’t. For the life of me I can’t believe this happened to our family as it is written in the bible. A brief background on our family. We are Asian decent and immigrated to Cali with “Special Visa” from my father as Ordained minister to have a church here. Our family has four sons, me and 2nd and 3rd and 4th. Our family is not exactly peaceful, we have our challenges and difficulties but all the years my father is strong and able to keep it together. My father’s ministries spread all over the world in 15 countries and my father’s ministries provide bible education and training for students. His love to us four sons is unconditional and enduring. Now about my brother the younggest one, he is loving and yet INTENSE. His words express in his action and sometime I can’t accept.

Last week was my mom’s birthday, TYB (The Youngest Brother) orcistratate elabrate birthday celebration and planning for my mom’s 67th birthday. All was fine but something about to turn this happy event into pain and sadness. Just right before the party begins, TYB announced that he would like to bring HIS GIRLFRIEND THAT WE DON’T APPROVE AND LIKE to crash the party. My mom objected and without confront him, I told her just to “run away” so she just “run” away from home. That is the ONLY way to confront our DISAGREEMENT AND DISSATISFACTION WITH HIS girlfriend for reason I don’t get into. Yes, she just left and leave the party for us to party ourselves without the birthday lady. It was a shock to him. He then got angry and us and took the Lobster he bought in 3 boxes tray and TRHOW and STUFF all in the trash can….and say “FOCK this family, fock you fock mom and fock this shit… I FOR THE LIFE OF ME WILL NOT COME BACK TO THIS FOCK up family again….” My father was shocked and then…he cried…for the life of him he brought us from a foreign country and then raised us and pray for us and then come to see this end …how it could be…then when I was trying to comfort him, TYB throw the birthday cake toward the ground and it splashed and spread all over and left…. Can you imagine the scene…it is hard to describe and the pain in my father’s heart I can tell is unberable…how to this happened to a Christian family like us…who taugh how to pray and faithful and yet…this has happened…I was speechless and shocked to my 85 degree…for all the time I did not say a word for one, I was broke (due to financial crisis I lost most of my 12 properties) and living at home and I owed my mom money and other brother money plus I have some personal issues which I do not want to elaborate.

God has Mercy on US. Fortunately, there is lady who is a good friend of my TYB and vacation in LA and reside in our house for a few weeks. Her name is Jenny. She is 58 single mom of two boys. She then called TYB and told him that “If you do not come back to REPEND and APOLIGZED TO YOUR MOM AND DAD, PLEASE BRING ME TO LOS ANGELES AIRPORT NOW AND I WANT TO LEAVE THIS HOUSE OF YOUR AND YOU AND YOUR FAMILY”. My brother then have a long talk with this Jenny then he came in and cry and bring down his face and then say sorry to mom and dad. My father was happy and as it is written he gave him GRACE that TYB did not deserve and MERCY that TYB did not earned. Later TYB he was sitting around the family sofa and all of my father’s grandchildren (2nd and 3rd brother’s children 4 boys and 1 girl…because only me and him are not married yet) all gather around HIM and gave him a HUG and compassion….my sisiter in law looking at me and said, “Look so beautiful…you wanna take a picture”. I had no reply. I was thinking, “You TYB…liar (because you had an agenda to introduce your grilfriend) and not honoring your father and mother, destroyer of birthday party, son who throw away the lobster and trash the birthday cake into the ground (he bought the cake), a sinner and a fake and one who cause the unbearable pain that for the first time in my 45 years old life that I saw my father cried……why you deserve the gift of sympathy, why you deserve the gift of hugs from our grandchildren? After what you have done. WHY. WHY. WHY. I could not accept this and could not sleep every day….please God I need an answer. I for one, started my father ministries and donated ALL of my earning in year 2000 to start my father’s ministry till what is it now today. I for one, single handley was able to find a kidney donor (from CANADA) and she donated a kidney for my mom whom was in need of a kidney transplant and the operation was completed in year 2009, successfully. Please explain GOD. Sincerely, The First Born Son.

P.S. Why is this happening to our family just like in the bible?


Jack Wellman February 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

We will not always get the “why” in this life my friend. I won’t pretend to have an answer. It is more “What!” as in what is God up to. Suffering forces us to turn from trust in our own resources to living by faith in God’s resources. What are these bends in the road that God puts in the path of life that we are to carefully consider? Simply stated, suffering is anything which hurts or irritates. In the design of God, it is also something to make us think. It is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives in a way that would never occur without the trial or irritation. God is NEVER closer to us than in our pain, suffering, and trials and ultimately, justice will be served. There is no promise in this life that we will be happy or that justice will occur in this life. We must leave unjustices in the perfect hands of God where in the end, everything will be made clear and all justice will be served (Rev 20). Reasons may include but are not limited to:

(1) We suffer because we live in a fallen world where sin reigns in the hearts of men.

(2) We suffer because of our own foolishness. We reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7-9).

(3) We sometimes suffer because it is God’s discipline. “For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son He receives” (Heb. 12:6).

(4) We may suffer persecution because of our faith—especially when we take a stand on biblical issues, i.e., suffering for righteousness sake (2 Tim. 3:12).

Of course, all of these do not apply at the same time. All suffering is not, for instance, a product of our own foolishness, self-induced misery, or sin. It is true, however, that rarely does suffering not reveal areas of need, areas of weakness, and wrong attitudes that need to be removed like dross in the gold-refining process (cf. 1 Pet. 1:6-7).

Suffering is Purposeful. Suffering is not without meaning in spite of its mystery. It has as its chief purpose the formation of Christ-like character (Rom. 8:28-29). Suffering Proves (tests) Us. “Trials” in James 1:2 is the Greek peirasmos and refers to that which examines, tests, and proves the character or integrity of something. “Testing” in this same verse is dokimion which has a similar idea. It refers to a test designed to prove or approve. Suffering is that which proves one’s character and integrity along with both the object and quality of one’s faith. Compare 1 Peter 1:6-7 where the same Greek words are used along with the verb dokimazo which means, “put to the test,” “prove by testing as with gold.” Suffering is a purifier. No matter the reason, even if it is not God’s discipline for blatant carnality, it is a purifier for none of us will ever be perfect in this life.

Believe it or not suffering is predetermined or appointed.

1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

(10) Suffering is Inevitable. The question we must each face is not, ‘if’ we are going to have trials in life, but how will we respond to them?

1 Thessalonians 3:3 so that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.

1 Peter 4:19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. Please consider Job and what he went thru and it was thru no fault of his own. Please read this my friend:


Dawn Szerszen March 4, 2013 at 12:46 am

I can’t help but compare this to my life right now where my oldest daughter decided to move out of our house at age 17 because she didn’t like our rules. She was raised in a Christian home, but we have had our problems. I thought we were working through them when she, in my mind, slapped us and our beliefs in the face and moved out with another family. 10 months later, after bouncing on to another house, she was asked to leave that house. With no where to go, she decided to come home. The same rules applied and she agreed to them. I welcomed her and saw it as a second chance at our relationship. After a couple of weeks it was back to the same attitudes that separated us the first time. Total lack of respect for us as her parents, for our home, and her brothers and sister. She didn’t want to change anything as the prodigal son did….never asked for forgiveness, nothing. Three months later she’s moved in with another family
I know this story is condensed and may not make a lot of sense, but I feel like maybe by enforcing our rules so strictly and not letting her be who she wanted to be in our home that I was not acting as the father in the story did. Was I supposed to accept the continued disregard for us and throw her a party because she came home? She didn’t crawl home repenting. She didn’t change ANYTHing, just became more defiant.
I suppose I just feel guilt because I feel I’ve failed her.
If this makes Any sense at all please let me


Jack Wellman March 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

Dawn, I am so sorry for this heartache. It does make sense to me. Here are the times when we need to trust in what God is doing. I know that even St. Augustine had a praying mother who prayed for years and years for her “prodigal” to put his trust in God and God will hear our prayers. Sometimes we have to wait for our children to come to an end of their own selves and to the end of their own strength. Let us pray for God the Holy Spirit to break her and have her see her need to repent and come back. You are NOT to blame. She is responsible for her own actions. Please know that all parents, me included, could have all done better jobs but in the end, we must leave these things out of our control in the sovereign hands of our God and trust in Him and wait upon HIS timing, which is always perfect. Keep praying and read Psalm 37 for comfort in this waiting.


Chris March 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Does the son represent a Christian that has fell into sin and wants to ask for forgiveness?


Jack Wellman March 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thank you Chris for your question. My understanding is that the younger brother, the prodigal, was not a Christian who fell into sin or backslide but was symbolic of our being called by the Father (John 6:44). I do not believe that prior to this son returning he was ever saved. I say this because the father gives the son what he does not deserve (called grace) and withholds what he actually did deserve (called mercy). The Father also says tells the eldest son, “…this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32). He was dead (in his sins) and that he was lost (unsaved) but now was found (saved). If he had died in his “partying” life, he would have been eternally lost but the point is that the father was looking for him and the son returned (repented) of his own accord. Does this help answer your question?


Chris March 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

So can a Christian who has fallen into sin come back to God? And will God accept him back from his backsliding?


Jack Wellman March 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Yes Chris…the difference is that they, the backsliden one, will not STAY backsliden. If they continue to live in sin then they are not a Christian at all. Read 1 John chapter 3 to see what I mean. God can not keep a person from sinning or backsliding…the Christian is not helpless…he or she must repent daily, confess daily, and strive to stay in the Word (the Bible). We all still sin (1 John 1:8, 10) but these ALL will confess their sins (1 John 1:9).


Chris March 25, 2013 at 7:49 pm

So say that a Christian was backsliding for several years. Does that mean they were never saved or that because they eventually came back that they were really saved?


Jack Wellman March 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm

This may be so Chris for 1 John 1:6 says “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” In 1 John 3:7-8 it reads, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” and, in verses 9-10 in 1 John 3, “No one who is born of God(W) will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

The point here in all of the book of 1 John is that if there are no fruits showing a person is saved, then they are not saved in the first place. A person who continues in sin but says that they are a “carnal Christian” or they are just “backslidden” is deceiving themselves and are not of God. As 1 John 2:19 reads, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

Does this help? If you know someone who is presently living a life not bearing fruit but are saying “well, I’ve just backslidden or am a carnal Christian” you must warn them that they are in danger of judgment and are not saved at all. No fruit? No Holy Spirit. Bad fruit? They are of their father the Devil.


Chris March 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Would this person need to be baptized again? If so wouldn’t this be putting Jesus to public shame?


Jack Wellman March 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Chris, I may not be able to respond again for I am a bi-vocational pastor and have to go to work soon. This ONE baptism is into Christ for the forgiveness of sins after a person hears, believes and repents. This one baptism is total immersion in water as the account of the Ethiopian eunuch undeniably illustrates.

It is very possible for people to go through a ritual that is called baptism without it being the baptism commanded by Jesus. “Baptism” that is not “for the forgiveness of sins” is not this one baptism.

Ephesians 4:4-5: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling;One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Don’t we all put Jesus to shame at times? Don’t we all sometimes deny Him like Peter does? Which verse do you use to say that Jesus is put to public shame?


Chris March 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I got this from Hebrews 6:6. I was baptized when I was younger and fell into sin for several years. I can’t do those things anymore and it disgusts me that I fell into this for so long. It hurts me that i hurt God. My past clearly shows that I haven’t been living for him. I wanna be with The Lord but I’m afraid if I get baptized again that I would be crucifying the son all over again and putting him to public shame.


Jack Wellman March 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Thanks Chris. I had an idea that might be where this came from and it being Heb 6:6. I don’t see any problem with getting baptized again but it is not anything to do with putting Christ to public shame again.

As for Hebrews 6:6 let’s look at the entire chapter first but first verses 4-8 which is what the context is:

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.”

When Christian folk read these verses they often neglect to consider that it was addressed to a specific group of people (a gathered people) rather than an individual, in much the same way the letters were written and distributed to the various churches in the Revelation. Also, this book of Hebrews was written TO Jewish Christians who saw Christ and knew He was the Son of God and saw His miracles and many saw Him after they were resurrected and so it was written to them.

Were these Hebrew Christians in our letter any different from those James mentioned? They did believe upon Christ as the promised Savior, but perhaps at the very same time they did not fully understand the Old Covenant was soon to be nothing more than a memory. They observed the Christian practices but they still labored within religious Judaism. In effect, their continuance within the sacrificial system that was at the heart of their Jewish life, and their adherence to that life in a practical sense, essentially made null and void their growth and hope in Christ. That is they were saying they believed in Jesus yet continuing the practices of sacrifices which should have ended once for all after Calvary.

Now, let’s finish the context of this chapter of Hebrews 6 in verses 9-12 to see if you still believe they could not be saved or had lost their salvation:

“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation [NOTE, the writer is still convinced of their salvation!]. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people [NOTE: HIS people they are still!] and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end [NOTE: indicating that they are still in the sheepfold and will be till the end!], so that what you hope for may be fully realized [NOTE: So they can rest assured and have the full realization]. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

If you still have doubts, please talk to your pastor or do you have a church home? If not, that may be the issue for those outside of the Body of Christ, the church, outside of the sheepfold of the Great Shepherd, are subject to spiritual attacks and doubt by the Enemy. Jesus loves the church and the Scriptures said He gave His life for her. If your outside the church’s protection of Jesus Headship, they it is written, “Satan is like a roaring lion wandering about seeking whom he might devour.” If you are a lone, straggler, you are easy prey.


Chris March 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I just sometimes lately question my salvation because I allowed myself to fall into sin for several years. I just hate all the time i have wasted. i have missed out on so many blessings that God was trying to give me. I talked to someone from my church about it and he said that a Christian no matter how long he has fallen into sin will eventually come back to God, hate his sin (godly sorrow) and that will show that he is saved. I just feel sometimes I have done too much for God to want me back or forgive me.


Jack Wellman March 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Chris, you must understand that Jesus Supreme sacrifice was so precious and so costly that there is nothing that a person could ever do to not have this sacrifice be enough to cover. It’s like telling Jesus that I have too much sin for your sacrifice to cover. 2 Cor 5:21 should say it all.


Chris March 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I know, I just doubt wether or not I was truly saved when I was younger. I never left my church. I was always involved but I wasn’t living the way God was wanting me to and I’m mad that I hurt God. I just want him in my life.


Jack Wellman March 28, 2013 at 11:12 am

Hello again Chris. I know what you are saying but “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”(Rom 8:1). Notice that Paul didn’t say “unless you sin again.” No, Jesus said in John 11:26 “whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” and”John 6:47 “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.” and John 6:58 “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Jesus NEVER qualifies His word that “except if you sin again. “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24).

If you still have doubts, you need to talk to your pastor, not just someone from your church to reassure you.


Lwando April 23, 2013 at 1:29 am

Greetings Man Of God
I just read your write-ups now, they are indeed educationally and spiritually uplifting. May the good Lord favour you and give you more wisdom and courage to bring the whole world into an understanding of who Jesus Christ is. The parable of the lost son has shown me compassion and unconditional love God has for me.

Thank you man of God.


Efrem Njau July 20, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Dear Jack Wellman,
In deed you have had a holistic approach to the Jesus Teaching in regard to prodigal son. What i had always missed was the cultural issue of the Jews. That it was so unbecoming behaviour to ask for part of estate from your father while still alive. Second, the reaction of the Jews pharisee, whom Jesus had targeted. He must have hited them so hard. Showing them that the Heavenly Most Merciful the God the Father has much LOVE and so MERCIFUL. This give reason for Jesus eating and welcoming sinners. Rev. be blessed.
Efrem-Fred Njau-A PhD scholar at University of Saskatchewan, originally from Tanzania


Jack Wellman July 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words. This parable is so true that it is a great picture of salvation in that the Father is willing to give us an inheritance and that the Father runs out to greet us, indicating that salvation is fully a work of God and that He draws men and women to Himself (John 6:44).


Romeo Aluad July 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Praise the Lord,at last i got the perfect analysis on the story of the Prodigal Son and what every personality represent.


Jack Wellman July 30, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Wow, what an encouragement you are Romeo…thank you so much my friend…you made my day.


Elaine September 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I am the oldest girl (2nd born child) of 4 children. During my life, my parents were very strict with me (and my older sibling), and stressed responsibility for others including my siblings as a natural part of life. I was fortunate to excel in life and have a good career.

When I struggled with problems, my parents were not supportive emotionally. They shunned me, expressed their disapproval of my need to seek psychiatric help for depression and an eating disorder and I felt lesser. They did help me financially intermittently when I needed it and I am grateful for that. I got through my problems, but mainly because I developed a social circle outside of my family and depended on them because my parents did not show compassion for me.

My youngest sibling never had the responsibilities that I had. She was given many things that I didn’t have and my parents were less strict. She is currently struggling in life and has entered a very dark place and has problems of a “greater magnitude” that have a potential legal consequence. My parents in a turnabout have rushed to support her…emotionally and financially.

My thoughts: I would never wish her ill and in fact tried to help her in the past. I am angry because unlike the parable, my parents did not extend me grace. I’m proud that they can do this for my sister, but a part of me is still hurt by their prior action. I remained dutiful and responsible. Never did I wish ill to my parents or family. Where is my solace? What does the bible say in this case?

Thank you.


Jack Wellman September 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Hi Elaine. The Bible is clear that everyone who lives a godly life will suffer in this present age…it doesn’t say that most Christians will but all will. I worry about your parents salvation and your sister’s too. Are they saved? If not, they will face a judgment so terrible that your sufferings will seem like a tear drop in all the oceans of the world. They give no evidence of being saved, therefore I suggest you pray for their salvation for if God can change a pagan king’s heart, He can change theirs (Prov 21:1). Just take a glance at their terrible fate (Rev 20:11-15) compared to yours (Rev 21 & 22). Since you remained faithful and not turned bitter, Jesus will say to you…and not them, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt 25:21).


Elaine September 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Thank you for the response. My mother is very religious, attends services, reads the bible and I know that she tries to live a very moral life. My father believes but does not allow show in his actions.

After a week of prayer about this, I’ve realized that I simply have to see my parents for their assets and flaws. I am secure in the fact that they love me. I will have to forgive the past and be careful not to be bitter towards my sister.

Thank you.


Jack Wellman September 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

What a productive week of prayer you have had and this sounds exactly like the will of God. You are headed in the right direction and I have no doubt that God will bless your sincerity of heart and desire to obey God.


Robin Pike December 28, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Jack: Thank you so much for this article and for your clear and detailed responses to your readers!!

I have an 18 year old daughter who has left our home recently because she didn’t want to live my beliefs in our home. She has been gone for almost a month — I have no seen or spoken to her and while it has been very hard and painful I know God is working His perfect plan in her life.

My question is, when she gets to the point of having to eat like a pig does and says she is ready to live under our roof again, eventually returns to her old ways (because she will only be coming back because she has no other choice) and leaves again, do we just keep taking her back each time thereafter?

I really wish the prodigal son story gave more of the story after the son returned home. I want to live my life according to Gods Word … there really is no continuation of what to do if the prodigal child goes back to their old ways and how we deal with a habitual abuser of a parents love.

Thank you!!


Jack Wellman December 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Hello Mrs. Pike. Thank you for your kind words. I would take my own son, who is also a prodigal of sorts although he is in his 30’s, a thousand times. The prodigal ran away from God but the prodigal never ceased from being the prodigals son of his father. That is, the son never stopped being a son of the father. They lost fellowship but never did they lose their relationship. All you can do is trust in God and leaven the consequences up to Him. I will pray for her and I know you mu8st be already doing so. Sometimes they need to be in the pigsty for a while before they see the need for family and for God. As long as they are self-sufficient God will resist them for they are proud but when they are humbled (like by living in pigsty’s) then God will give them grace. I would take her back because if you don’t, what worse thing would or could or might she do? I don’t want to even imagine. I hope my answer gave you some hope. Many godly praying mothers have never given up and saw their children come to Christ but it was in GOD’S timing that it was perfect, not in our timeframe. Make sense Mrs. Pike?


Robin Pike December 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Thank you!! Yes that makes perfect sense. If there is one thing God has taught me, it is that it’s not on my time frame and that His timing is truly perfect!! I completely understand that He has a reason for everything and that His reason (even though it may not be what I think I want at that time) is enough for me (I do wish I knew what the reason was so that I could understand better). I have applied this to the fact that this is how I would like my daughter to trust in what I say — if I can’t trust what my Father says then how could I trust her to trust me? Of course she is not there yet but I pray that in the future she will see this light shining through me because of Him.

I guess where I am not clear is, as I continually take her back, how am I suppose to effectively discipline and teach her if she can come and go? If she says she will follow the rules and after a while chooses not to and leaves again for a while how will she ever learn if I just allow her back? I don’t want to send the message that she can come back every time it gets a little rough. How will she learn anything? I can’t allow her to live the devils life under my roof.

I have been told by formerly prodigal kids that the only way they truly learned is by hitting rock bottom. And they give credit to their parents for standing firm in their rules. They are now Followers of Christ and love The Lord. I pray that this is how it all turns out for my daughter. I trust the Lord has a perfect plan for her and that that plan may not be what I am hoping for…


Jack Wellman December 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Thanks again Mrs. Pike. I believe God can never fix what is first not broken and God must break our pride before He can even give us grace. I also believe that your daughter must live by your rules because she needs to be responsible. I agree, she cannot believe that you will accept her back every time if she isn’t going to be allowed to live with discipline. Well said that you can’t allow her to live under devils rules under your house. I totally agree. Good point and I totally agree with this. Until she reaches the end of herself and relying upon herself, God cannot work with her but many, many prodigals had to sink to the pigsty before the ever came home to their heavenly Father.


Robin Pike December 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Thank you very much for your prompt reply and for your deep insight and I’m so happy the Lord has guided you to helping parents like myself.

I am feeling that you aren’t really sure how to answer my direct question and I do appreciate that you do not have all the answers — God is the only one that as them all!! I guess my question to you should be more directly to you saying that you would allow your son back a thousand times – the times you have already allowed your son to return home and he ended up leaving yet again, what was different, if anything, when he returned the next time. Did you expect a little more each time and did he fulfill that expectation? Did you feel God telling you to allow him back in your home? Did you allow him to do the “wrong” things just to keep him “safe” under your roof?

Up until recently, I allowed my daughter to do whatever she wanted just so that I knew she had a safe place to come home to — last year God spoke to me and told me that I was not really keeping her safe, I am actually getting into bed with the devil and helping him by bringing her to him! I sent her away for a year to an out of state residential program — it was torture in my head and heart but I knew this was the right thing as it was God that lead me to that program. Fast forward a year later, we brought her home three months ago and the devil has put his grips into her stronger than ever — BUT, something drastically changed in the past year — ME! The devil is controlling her right now but that is ONLY because God is allowing him to do so!!! Just like with Job, God allowed Satan to test him! And just like with Abraham – God is testing me! I have taken my daughter to stake and I am trusting God that when He allows her to hit rock bottom, down to the devils pit, He will call on me to bring her home!

I know that God has placed me here today because He wants me to help other parents of prodigal kids — just like you are doing here! Thank you kindly for your time and dedication to Our Father.


Jack Wellman December 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I should have been more clear about my own son. He is a grown man and does not live at home but his behavior and lifestyle is that of a prodigal. He knows about God and believes in God but I am not sure if he is really saved or not for he doesn’t show it by his words or actions. So, I can’t answer your question because your daughters situation is different. If he did move back home, he would have to abide by the rules, contribute by doing dishes, taking out trash, etc and work to pay part of the expenses. If he did these things and did not do any drugs or things that are illegal, then and only then could he stay. Does that help?


Robin Pike December 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Yes that does help!! Thank you!! And yes, I would be fine with her living under our roof as long as she contributed with the chores and expenses. She does not have a job so in place of that I have given her other rules she must follow like being a part of church ministry, volunteering at a shelter and keeping busy with other activities if she does not choose to go to college. These are the things that she does not want to do… she feels like I should just allow her to live here without any obligations and that she should be able to have sexual relations as long as she is not doing it in my house — which is fine (not really but she is 18) as long as she is contributing as I just mentioned…

Thank you again…


Sue Finnicum February 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Knowing the culture during the time this takes place always adds another layer of meaning. I did not know that it would not have been dignified for the father to run. What resource do you recommend to find out more about the times in which the Bible was written?


Jack Wellman February 11, 2014 at 9:34 pm

I would read the book by John MacArthur “Twelve Ordinary Men” or if you want, the Jewish Historian Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews.


Henry June 27, 2014 at 5:03 am

Hi Jack…

I have not read all the comments… forgive me if I repeat something you already addressed…and thank you for allowing me to share some thoughts…

In the parable the eldest son are in good standing with his Father… Luk 15:31 “he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I
have is thine”.

I think that you will agree that the “Jewish” leadership are not part of the house of God…
Yeshua: Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his
baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to
flee from the wrath to come?

The elder son must obviously be those who has been serving our Father all this time…
He/they kept the commandments v29 and separated him/themselves from idolatry v30.
Therefore (I think) that the elder son can only be the remnant of true believers of Judah (Southern tribes)

The younger son are those who fell into idolatry and were scattered (Northern tribes / lost sheep Mat15:24)

There are numerous verses talking about these two separated flocks which, one day, will be joined again.
John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Thanks for your patience… and the way you handle the comments.
I see a lot of good fruit… be blessed my friend in Yeshua…



Jack Wellman June 27, 2014 at 7:36 am

Henry, thank you sir for your comment and you have an interesting take on that which I had never heard before. I don’t know quite how to respond to that because I had never seen that approach. I do know that the younger son is like anyone who has never know Jesus as the Messiah and the Savior because he was once blind and lost but now he can see and is saved and the father running to him seems to indicate that this is a divine calling for the father came running to him showing a predestining, an election, of all were lost but now are saved (e.g. John 6:44). Thank you sir, you gave me something to think about and I surely am still in a process of learning.


Henry June 27, 2014 at 8:27 am

It is also true that the younger son left the house to begin with… and when he return… he will be restored to rule in the house… as if he never left.

That is why we (lost sheep) can relate to YHWH’s word… it is planted deep inside of us and we long to serve in our rightful position…as priests and kings.

The way I see it is that the new covenant became fully operational in 30AD… at the cross and Pentecost…
The united body of Yeshua was established then…
That is why Yeshua prayed for us to be one as He and Father is one.

I believe that this will realize very soon… every knee will bow and every tongue confess Yeshua as Messiah and King. We will worship together in spirit and truth.

I enjoy your posts… was reading the one about the misquoted verses just now… ha ha ha… how true..

One thing I have learnt is to measure everything against what our Rabbi taught us.
He is the Word of God… and in Him we shall find the truth.
We must also remember that many false prophets will come and twist the scriptures…
Especially Paul’s letters…
2Pe 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

We must therefore be careful tot accept “new” doctrine… Yeshua taught us everything we need to know… and the rest must build on His foundation. Not start something new.



Denise January 15, 2015 at 11:17 am

My name is Denise and I was raised in the church. I have sinned very badly and I know deep in my heart that I need Jesus in my life but do not know how to receive him. I do not go to church but I do believe that Jesus died for us and I really need to find Christ in my life. I know that the Lord is sending me signs but I do not know how to understand it or receive them. I was always told that the Lord do things for a reason and right now, I truly believe that it is time for me to turn my life around and except Jesus in my life but I do not know where to start. Can you please help me find my way back to the Lord, please.


Jack Wellman January 15, 2015 at 11:40 am

Hello Denise. I am so sorry you are going through this hard time right now but the story of the Prodigal Son can be read as the story of the Prodigal Daughter because if you have repented and put your trust in Christ, He says that He will never cast any one away or turn any one away once they are His. I can say this because of John 6:37. 39 and John 10:28-29. You must not trust your feelings at all but believe what God says in His Word which is always true since it is impossible for God to lie:

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Surely you believe God’s Word here, right? If it is time to turn your life around, return to God, find a Bible believing church, talk to that pastor, stay daily in prayer and read the Bible every single day. I can help you find your way back to the Lord if you will do these things. These things are up to you though. That’s the best advice I can give you. The Christian is not a solo act for Satan is prowling about seeking whom he can devour and he looks for those who are hurting, injured, and separated from the sheepfold for they are most vulnerable. If you don’t take this advice, you are destined to always feel this way I am afraid to say.


Tim February 16, 2015 at 1:59 am

You say the father represents the heavenly Father: do you think that both the father and the son are to repreresent what we are to be as people seeking Christ-likeness too? As the son we must realise the error of our ways and seek forgiveness and change our ways, as the father we ought to forgive others and let them “back in”. I have been on the son’s side of the story, and i have had many Christians deny me forgiveness, deny me a place in the “family”, and deny me a place back in their lives and justifying this by saying I can only find that with God. I see the theme all throughout the Bible about love, forgiveness, mercy, and redemption. It seems to me that the stories are always interpreted to a “you and God” end point, which is great. but couldn’t He also be teaching us show these character traits to the people in our lives too?


Jack Wellman February 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

Thank you Tim…great point about what God may be teaching us. I believe that he is also teaching us about the older son who refused to welcome his lost brother back and refused to go the celebration. Thank you so much sir.


Chy March 1, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Dear Jack, I want to say thanks for this commentary, I have learnt a lot and have been blessed. Could you please clarify what you mean when you say that God with-held MERCY from the prodigal son? As in this statement; “father gives the son what he does not deserve (called grace) and withholds what he actually did deserve (called mercy)”. Does it mean that God gave him grace but did not forgive him?

May the Lord continue to enlighten you so that you will continually be a blessing to others in Jesus name. Amen.


Jack Wellman March 1, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Thank you so much Chy for your encouraging comment. No, I believe that God withheld His due punishment that the prodigal and we all deserved and that is what mercy is; God withholding what we deserve, His punishment but instead giving us what we don’t deserve, called grace. Sorry I wasn’t as clear as I should have been. God did forgive Him as the prodigal returning home shows…He threw a celebration for this son was once lost but now saved as your read at the end of the story.


Jack Wellman March 1, 2015 at 6:45 pm

The end of the Prodigal Son Parable shows this that the son was saved in Luke 15:32 “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.’”


Chy March 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Thank you very much, it is crystal clear now.
We continue to thank God for His mercies towards us.


Jack Wellman March 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm

Amen my friend my friend…never going to repay what Jesus did on the cross. Thank you.


Ray T April 3, 2015 at 6:03 am

I just found your web site this morning and I’m impressed with the insight and relevance of the topics. Thank you!



Gabrielle August 9, 2015 at 11:39 pm

The more I read the story of Cain and Abel and the this one, the more I get confused. I get what the parable is meant to teach, but what’s stopping anyone from interpreting it as “well, I can always come back later and be good”? We all need SOME incentive to not succumb to temptation – “you should always be good, but NO ONE will even acknowledge your effort, even God, but you’re good, so you should be happy” won’t fly in the face of a dire temptation – but the elder son never gets any. His effort is to be expected, and it almost seems like he’s being taken for granted. What’s stopping me from going out, having sex with whomever I want, doing drugs, stealing, hurting people? I can always come back when I decide that I need to get back on my toes and be welcomed back, right?

I always feel that the elder son’s efforts were grossly undervalued. I know I’m not supposed to presume God’s will but it’s very discouraging. It’s like you always study and are a good student, constantly getting A’s. Your parents just nod when you bring back your report card but nothing else. Your younger sibling, however, constant gets detentions, even gets suspended, and never manages above an F. But one day, he got a C, and your parents buy him an Xbox and takes him out to an expensive restaurant. You ask your parents why you get A’s and you never get acknowledged of your efforts, and your parents say “you always get A’s. But your younger sibling finally got a C!”

You might not be expecting to get anything for your effort. But a simple “you did well”, or “good job, kiddo” would have meant the world. What’s stopping “you” from going “all-right, fine, I’ll just slack off from now on. Once in a while I’ll get a C, and then maybe someone’ll appreciate me”?

The lesson I’m tempted to take home from this parable is “slack off, and when you do put in the effort, once in a blue moon, you’ll get rewarded for your rare efforts”.


Amos Thomas January 4, 2016 at 10:40 am



Thomas February 17, 2017 at 7:38 am

Appreciate your wonderful insight as I make reference to your teachings during my youth group. Be blessed


Jack Wellman February 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

Thank you Thomas. All glory to God for we have nothing that wasn’t first given to us by God (1st Cor 4:7).


Piper Michaud May 31, 2019 at 1:22 am

Thank you so much for this wonderful article, it helped me tremendously in a school project that I had to do on this parable.


Steve June 9, 2019 at 4:17 am

Is this teaching then that all people are God’s children and just astray in their hearts and will come home to God sometime? Or is it a
Teaching about some people who are already
God’s children, repenting and returning to their Father?


Jack Wellman June 9, 2019 at 12:21 pm

I believe this is teaching about a lost person coming to saving faith in Christ. The Father draws us (John 6:44) so it is about those of us who were once blind, but now can see, so since we were blind, this could not be about a child who wanders away because they were once lost and blind, but then the Prodigal Son was found and can see. It’s a picture of our salvation.


Donk November 26, 2019 at 8:26 am

This is the most useful piece of writing ever written in the history of Christian article writing. Is the farmland itself of any significance to the parable?


Jack Wellman November 26, 2019 at 9:05 am

Thank you Donk. I don’t think the farmland is much about anything. It was the pigstye that was important but not the farm, I don’t believe so Donk.


Felly June 27, 2020 at 4:52 am

The blend of a biblical explanation in relation to the social context of the Jews of this parable is vivid and interesting. It helped me in further understanding the other parables too. Thankyou


Kirubakaran Soundararaj March 2, 2021 at 11:25 pm

We should know that the parable of Prodigal Son does not explain the life of one father and his two sons, but, about God and his dealing with two groups of people in Israel. The Prodigal son has been indicated by Luke as the tax collectors and sinners in the preamble.
The tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15 1-2). So, anybody can understand that the elder son is the Pharisees as they criticized Jesus, the father, for eating with tax collectors and sinners, the younger son.
If you are interested to know the real explanation for this parable, please inform me. Kirubakaran Soundararaj


Jack Wellman March 3, 2021 at 10:32 am

Hello Friend. This parable is not about a human father and his sons but about God the Father seeking us and pursuing us (Rom 8; Eph 1) and that none of us are worthy of God’s grace. That is the actual lesson Jesus teaches my friend. What is your interpretation then?


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