Lost and Found: The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Animated Glory

A son moves to an unfamiliar country, spending his inheritance recklessly before succumbing to both an economic and natural calamity in the form of famine.

He then prepared his scripted speech in which he requested his father take him back as an employee, yet before he could finish speaking his father ran up quickly to welcome him with open arms.

The Father’s Love

This story serves as a parable about God. The father symbolizes Himself; the prodigal son symbolizes tax collectors and sinners (Luke 15:1) while his elder brother represents those who think they have earned God’s favor by following the law and obedience (Luke 15:1). Through this parable, Jesus shows that He is an all-forgiving father who cares deeply for those he considers his friends despite any failure on their part to return home.

Once the prodigal son comes to his senses and recognizes that his life of disgraceful living has taken its toll, he returns home. His father welcomed him with open arms. His father ordered the best robe prepared as well as sandals for his feet as signs of status and authority – showing that no longer being treated as a servant but a son! In addition, his father ordered that a fattened calf be prepared as a symbol of honor and dignity at a party for him as an expression of his fatherly love.

Christ emulates this action when people turn back to Him in repentance, welcoming them as part of His family and celebrating their return with joy and grace-based not on merit but simply upon being part of his family! Christ’s ultimate goal is that everyone born into mortal life will eventually come home to him and enjoy an exalted existence like his for eternity!

The Son’s Sin

The prodigal son selfishly asked for and then squandered his inheritance, living a lavish life until it left him penniless and empty. It was his misery that drove home the reality that sin can never lead to prosperity (Psalm 147:11). Finally he “came to his senses”, realizing even his father’s servants had it better, which caused him to return home and ask forgiveness of his father.

The father’s reaction to his son’s return is an illustration of God’s great mercy towards those who repent of their sins and turn back toward Him. By running to greet his son without regard for convention (Luke 15:20), his running revealed how deeply his desire was for restoration (Luke 15:20). Before even the prodigal could finish speaking his prepared speech, his father cut him short and started honoring him with expensive clothing, rings, and feast!

Just as with the Flood, Amorites expulsion and Adam and Eve being removed from Eden Garden, God must punish people’s sinful acts; but unlike previous events in scripture, He did this in such a way that was both just and gracious – just because He took on all sin for all people, but gracious because He didn’t wish any to feel alienated from Himself.

The Father’s Forgiveness

The father’s reaction to his son’s return symbolizes heaven’s acceptance of repentant sinners: it’s an expression of joyous celebration over one who “was dead but is alive again; was lost but is found” (Luke 15:32).

The young son demands his share of an estate even though it was illegal for him to do so, yet eventually used it all up and found himself broke in another country. A natural disaster then occurred, and forced to feed pigs he realized the true meaning of life.

As soon as the prodigal son arrives back home, his father “saw him from far off”, breaking convention to welcome him with open arms. He embraces and kisses him to express his affection before ordering a feast to mark their reunion.

While his older brother was a good man who worked hard, he believed that God’s grace belonged to those who had earned it through their efforts and goodness alone. He didn’t understand his father’s forgiveness of his younger brother; yet his father showered them both with kisses so everyone would recognize they were son and daughter.

Lost and Found The Prodigal Son in Animated Glory

The Older Brother’s Response

One can readily see how this story symbolizes Jesus’ opponents among the Pharisees: those who resented his compassion toward sinners like tax collectors and other nonconformists He welcomed into His family, thinking themselves superior. Additionally, they feared they might lose favor with God if they extended mercy toward any transgressors.

But in Luke 15:31’s parable of the elder son and the younger son’s sins, his response goes far beyond simply taking revenge against their transgressions. Instead, his response is one of love, longsuffering, kindness, goodness faithfulness and self-control – reminding his older son that they always share a bond together and that his younger son is his child (Luke 15:31).

The elder son agrees with his father’s plan for the celebration, yet still feels bitter that his younger sibling was treated like royalty while he had to work hard for it.

Rembrandt beautifully captured this last scene in his masterpiece “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (c. 1639). This painting depicts the moment of reconciliation through an appealing combination of light and serious expressions.

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