Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 15:16-30

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Luke 15:16

The young man makes so little at his job that he cannot even afford to buy food for himself. carob pods. Likely seed pods or fruit from a local carob tree which was often used as fodder for pigs and donkeys. For a Jew, longing for pig food signaled the ruination of the man's life (see note on vv. 14-15).

Luke 15:17-19

See WLC 76, 185.

Luke 15:17

In contrast to the situation he is in, the son remembered how generous his father was with his servants.

Luke 15:18-19

The son wanted to confess his sin to his father in two ways. First, he wanted to repent and acknowledge that his sin against God in heaven and his father. Second, he wanted to ask for mercy. He didn't seek the restoration of his place in the family, but simply to be hired as a servant. He knew that even as a servant, he would be treated well (v. 17). heaven . . . your sight. The order is significant. All sin is primarily against God before anyone else (Ps. 51:4). This was true for the son's disrespect of his father (Exod. 20:12).

Luke 15:20-24

See HC 85.

Luke 15:20

The father's response was unexpected. far away . . . father saw. This suggested that that the father was actively looking for the son to return. compassion. Extended to the son before he heard any confession or repentance (vv. 18-19, 21; 7:13; 10:33). ran. A total break with social norms. Running was unheard of in that day for someone older and well-respected. hugged . . . kissed. Open signs of affection and reconciliation (see Gen. 33:4).

Luke 15:21

The son began his planned confession (vv. 18-19). But was interrupted by the joyful, forgiving father (v. 22). heaven . . . your sight. See note on vv. 18-19.

Luke 15:22

best robe . . . ring. Symbols of wealth and acceptance. The ring may have contained a seal which would have shown his sonship. The father desires the full reclamation of his wayward son. sandals. Servants often went barefoot.

Luke 15:23

Meat was not eaten at every meal in the biblical culture. It was saved for special occasions (v. 24).

Luke 15:24

dead . . . alive. Death was a fitting picture for his loss of the son. His return is like a resurrection. lost . . . found . . . celebrate. Repeats the themes of the earlier parts of the parable (see note on v. 3).

Luke 15:27

returned safely. More than physical well-being. He has returned to the family. This is a picture of salvation.

Luke 15:28

Just as the younger son insulted the father by demanding his inheritance and leaving (v. 12), now the older son insults his father by refusing to join the celebration. begged. Jesus wanted the Pharisees and scribes (v. 2) to join him in celebrating the salvation of sinners (see note on v. 32).

Luke 15:29-30

slaved for you. The older son had been consumed with serving and obeying. Though one son saw his sin and believed himself only worthy to be a slave, the other son never saw his sin and never lived truly as a son, but a slave. So, the younger son was lost and outside the family but returned. Yet, the older son was lost inside the family. He refused to be part of the family reconciliation and celebration with the repentant son. your son. The older brother is so upset he refused to identify the younger son as his brother (see 10:17). prostitutes. Possibly as attempt to bring an accusation worthy of the death penalty in ancient Israel (Deut. 21:18-21).

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