The younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
“Father, give …!” With these words the son in this parable demanded his share of his father’s inheritance. The father must have had a premonition of how his son would spend it, yet he paid out the inheritance prematurely.
With his purse full to overflowing the young man left the family home. Abroad he lived a luxurious life – as he thought for a time. But his dissipated way of life soon ate up his wealth. And just at that time a famine came upon the land. His friends abandoned him straightaway. He had been the rich party-goer; now he was a hungry tramp. In his distress he found work with a farmer. He could feed the swine, but he himself had to famish.
Looking after the pigs made him realize how stupid he had been to turn his back on his father. He thought of returning and saying, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But would the father receive him back? With his heart pounding, he made his way back home.
How longingly had the father been waiting for his son to return! When he caught sight of him in the distance, he ran out to him and embraced him. Without considering his ragged appearance, the father accepted his son’s confession and forgave him all his guilt. Jesus Christ told this story as an example of the way God receives the lost who return to Him and frankly confess their guilt.