The Parable of the Prodigal Son is bar none my favourite parable. It is perhaps the passage to which it has been the most productive to apply the best advice I have ever received about the Bible: read it as though it is a story about you.
It has been noted that the parable should perhaps be renamed the Parable of the Father's Love, because the prodigal son himself is decidedly NOT the hero of the story. The father, with his mercy and forgiveness, is the one who saves the day.
That being said, it could just as easily be called the Parable of the Obstinate Brother, because the reaction of the older brother is also showcased in the passage.
In reality, the story is extremely versatile in that we can ask ourselves in just about any situation, "Who am I in that story?" Subject just about any personal relationship and situation going on in our lives, and we can ask, "Am I the prodigal son? Am I the father? Am I the jerky older brother?" In identifying who we are in the story, we can then ascertain the more important question: who do I need to be?
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