We already know what this parable means, right? We say this parable is about a foolish son who grabs his inheritance early, then wastes the money on prostitutes and other stupid expenses. The “prodigal” son, we call him, even though that word prodigal is not in Luke’s text. “Prodigal” because he’s wasteful and extravagant, because he makes lavish purchases and lives for a while in luxury. We shake our thrifty Mennonite heads and say, “Tsk, tsk! What an idiot! How could he blow his inheritance like that? If he had just invested his capital wisely, he could have reaped a good income for the rest of his life. If only he had been more prudent!” And then there were those prostitutes he paid for his own sexual pleasure. What a moral degenerate that prodigal son is!
This line of interpretation isn’t entirely wrong. There’s room in this parable for a range of meanings. However, people in the first century likely would have heard a different interpretation.
- Luke 15:11 - 11:32