The Parable of the Prodigal Son

The Life-Altering Parables of Jesus - Part 2

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The parable of the prodigal is probably one of the most famous teaching stories that Christ told, but with that popularity has come a multitude of interpretations for the lost son. In this episode, Gary Wilkerson and Joshua West discuss the cultural significance and true focus of this parable. Jesus was pointing to bigger issues than just rebellious, estranged children; and his intended audience is every Christian, regardless of how righteous we think we are.

Key Points from the Podcast

•  Jesus told the parable of the coin and the lost sheep before telling the parable of the lost son. He was pointing to the degree of work someone would put toward recovering items of lesser value before discussing the restoration of a child who had shamed his father.

•  The main point of the parable of the prodigal isn’t the son but rather the father and, far more importantly, the heart of God.

•  This story would be striking in Jewish culture because of how unheard of it would be for a son to come to his father and ask for his inheritance. The parable starts with an utterly disgraceful situation that grows even worse as the son goes to work in a pig field.

•  The parable shows that no depths of depravity are so great that God will not reach down to redeem us.

•  Jesus is talking about all believers in the parable of the prodigal, not just those who go through seasons of living in unrepentant sin.

•  The famine in the parable is how God uses hardship to graciously guide us back to himself. Suffering is a tool of discipline for us, not God punishing us because he’s angry.

•  There are three key points to garner from this parable: Our inheritance in God is eternal; that is one of the many marks of God’s enduring love. Looking for satisfaction outside of the Lord’s house will never bring satisfaction. Without repentance, there can be no forgiveness or restoration with God.

Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast

Luke 15:3-10, Luke 15:11-32, Psalm 84:10

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

•  Fire in Our Bones conference in San Diego

•  The Altar of Our Hearts by Gary Wilkerson
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Additional Episodes in this Podcast Series

About Joshua West

Joshua West serves as the Church Leadership Network Director at World Challenge helping equip and empower pastors all over the world. Joshua’s desire is to raise up ministers who will correctly and boldly preach the word with passion and integrity. The point of all his work and writings is to preach the gospel, glorify God and to teach sound doctrine.
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About Gary Wilkerson

Gary Wilkerson is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. He is also the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church, which he launched in 2009 with a handful of people. He has traveled nationally and internationally at conferences and conducted mission ventures such as church planting, starting orphanages, clinics, feeding programs among the poorest of the poor and the most unreached people of the earth. Gary and his wife Kelly have four children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.

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