The Prodigal Son by Matt Carter

Day 1 of 8 • This day’s reading


Day 1: The Problem

Jesus frequently used parables to teach His followers what it means to know and follow Him. Over the next eight days, we’re going to go line by line through a well-known story known as the parable of the prodigal son. 

Jesus frequently taught using stories because of their ability to engage our imagination in a way that other kinds of teaching doesn’t. They guide us to see truths that we might not otherwise notice by allowing us to live vicariously through the characters in the narrative. The parable of the prodigal son offers the same opportunity. Whether this story is familiar to you, or you are hearing it for the first time, there’s much we can learn from Jesus’ teaching. 

The central question of this parable is this: “Is there a better life for me outside of the love of the Father?” The prodigal son decided the answer to that question was yes. He left his father’s house and pursued the best the world had to offer only to find the world’s best lacking. 

Reading a story like the prodigal son, it may be tempting to think, “I would never do that.” But at some point, we all doubt the love of our Father. The temptation for the far country exists for all of us. If it doesn’t right now, it will in the future. This story helps us see that no matter how far we roam, the best life is found in the love of the Father. 

End today by asking yourself these questions: Where do you see yourself in this parable? Why should the parable cultivate sympathy for people who have wandered away from faith in Jesus or never experienced it to begin with?