Parable of the Two Sons // The Parables of Jesus

When you think about the parables Jesus told, the most popular and well-known of all of his stories is "The Parable of the Two Sons" in Luke 15:11-32 (also known as "The Parable of the Prodigal Son"). In Luke 15, Jesus tells a series of three parables about things that are lost and later found. With each parable, he intensifies his message and ups the ante. Jesus begins with a story about a shepherd losing 1 out of 100 sheep. When the sheep is found, the shepherd celebrates with his friends. Jesus then tells a second story about a woman losing 1 out of 10 coins. When she finds the coin, she also celebrates with her friends. Finally, Jesus tells a third story that drives home his primary message and intensifies it. He tells a story about a father who loses 1 out of 2 sons. It started with a story about 1 out of 100, then 1 out of 10, and now 1 out of 2. It started with a story about a lost animal, then lost money, and now a lost child. With all of the similarities between these three parables, Jesus throws in a few unexpected twists to this final parable to communicate his message clearly. The story doesn't end with celebration when the lost son is found, like the other two stories do. The story then turns to the older brother who is furious that his father is throwing a party for this rebel son. By breaking the established pattern and shocking our sensibilities and expectations, Jesus teaches us many profound truths about the mercy, grace, and love of our Heavenly Father. Perhaps the shock and unexpected turns are why this parable has been called the greatest short story in the history of the world.