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Parable of the Lost Son (Discussion Questions)

Categories: Jesus (Parables)

Read Luke 15: 11-32

  • What is this story about? Money? Wild living? Stubbornness? Forgiveness? Anger?
  • Who wants his share of the family inheritance?
    • Why?
    • Is there some sibling rivalry?
  • Are you aware that both boys receive their inheritance at the same time?
  • Who received more? (the older usually receives a double portion)
  • What does the younger brother do with his money?
  • Was the famine in the land representative of the son's behavior or was it a real famine, like Joseph experienced in Egypt?
  • What must it have been like for everyone to desert him?
  • Have you ever found that if you have some money, everyone wants to be your friend until the money is gone?
  • What was this experience telling him about true friendship?
  • How do you make friends?
  • What is important in a friendship?
  • Did his dad kick him out of the house for asking for his inheritance?
  • How do you think the mother felt about this? (she's not in the story, but think about her response)
  • Where did the son go when he was penniless?
  • What did he end up doing to earn food and shelter?
  • Why was this a repulsive activity? (Jews saw pigs as unclean)
  • What did he think about while feeding the swine?
  • What did he decide to do?
  • Can you see that he disliked feeding swine so much that he was willing to return home to a situation that caused him to leave?
  • When he returns, how does his father greet him – with anger? with "I told you so"? with love?
  • What does the father do to make the son feel at home?
  • How might the mother have greeted him?
  • Why does the older brother get angry?
  • Do you think the older brother was justified for being upset that his brother got a party?
  • What was the father's message to the younger son?
  • What was the father's message to the older son?
  • Was this a case of unconditional love?
  • If you had been the mother, what would you have said to your sons?
  • If you were the older brother, what do you think the father/mother should have done to your brother?
  • Why did the older brother think the younger brother should be punished?
  • Do you want to see people punished before you forgive them?
  • What things are happening in the world today that require forgiveness?
  • What do you think of the father's handling of things?
  • What makes a good father?
  • What qualities would make a good mother in this instance?
  • Are these the same qualities you find in God as Mother?
  • What qualities would make a good brother?
  • What do you learn about judging others from this story?
  • Think of a modern day story that would be like the Prodigal son.