The Prodigal Sons – Gospel in Life

The Prodigal Sons

Tim Keller |  September 11, 2005

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  • Identity
  • Sin
  • Salvation
Luke 15:1-2, 11-32
RS 187-01


In the parable of the Prodigal Sons,Jesus redefines God as Father,redefines sin,and redefines salvation. We need the initiating love of the Father to learn to repent for something besides sins and to be moved by the cost of bringing us home.

Luke 15:1–2, 11–32

The story of the prodigal son shakes up what we usually think about getting right with God. It tells us about Jesus, who didn’t follow the rules of society. It points out how people in the Middle East placed a lot of importance on their land and where they come from. It also shows a father’s deep love for his son, even when his son doesn’t love him back. The story doesn’t end with a clear answer about whether the family’s love and unity are restored. Through this story, Jesus gives us a new way to think about God, our mistakes, and how we’re saved.

1. Jesus gives us a new way to think about God

Jesus shows us a different way to look at God. In the Old Testament, God is seen as a powerful figure. But Jesus shows us a God who loves deeply, feels everything we feel, and gives generously. He also shows a God who can bear the pain of unreturned love. This shows us a God who is both gentle and mighty, both powerful and kind. It gives us a new way to understand God as a Father who longs to fix broken relationships and be with us.

2. Jesus gives us a new way to think about our mistakes

Jesus uses the actions of the two brothers to show what sin really is. Both of them want what their father has, but they don’t really want their father. This goes against the usual idea that being saved has to do with being good or bad, religious or not. Instead, Jesus says that being saved has to do with God’s kindness, not our own goodness. What matters most is why we do what we do. Real obedience comes from love and thankfulness, not from wanting to get something in return.

3. Jesus gives us a new way to think about how we’re saved

The usual way of thinking about who’s saved and who isn’t, who’s good and who’s bad, is turned upside down. It highlights how important God’s love is and how we need to seek Him. The gospel, which is sometimes rejected by both religious and moral people, emphasizes that everyone needs to be saved. It changes our understanding of repentance. It’s not just about stopping doing bad things, but also about letting go of trying to control God and other people. Christianity is shown as a unique path, different from just being religious or moral. It’s about being changed from the inside out and understanding the price of being saved. Jesus is like the best older brother, who gave up his life so we could be part of God’s family.



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