The parable of the prodigal son is predicated upon the following statement:
And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2 NKJV)
In the parable, the characters are as follows:
- The younger son: any sinful person who repents and turns to God
- The father: God
- The older son: the Pharisees who complained about Jesus’ interaction with “sinners”
- The fatted calf: Jesus
- The goat: just a goat
In summary, the younger son runs away and spends all of his money. He finds himself contaminated by the world and the unclean swine he is in charge of. He returns to his father to confess his sins and beg for forgiveness and work as a servant. The father welcomes him home with open arms and kills the fatted calf (representative of an offering and food for he feast). The older brother, still bitter against the sinful son and the loving father stays out in a field wishing he could have had a party too.
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 NKJV)
Which brother are you? Have you repented of your sins and trusted in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus?