Sunday, April 3rd, 2015
What is a parable? A parable is a fictitious or made up story designed to teach a lesson through comparison. When you hear the story, you can relate it to your own life. It is like an illustration for the points in a sermon. It conveys its message of truth through analogy, through comparison or contrast.
Parables are told so that only those who really care will come to know the truth. Not so much because they understand the parable, but because they care enough to ask what it means after the story is finished and hang around long enough to have it explained to them. The others don’t really care and leave. Remember, the disciples didn’t understand the parables, but they asked what Jesus meant after the crowds left. They had a soft and open heart. Understanding is an issue of the heart. Those who have a hard heart, also have closed eyes and closed ears and they don’t understand. Another purpose for parables was to reveal truths about the kingdom of God. (Content taken from Bible.org)
As you read and study together, make sure to work hard at hearing from everyone that has gathered together. Pray for one another and be accountable to applying the word of God to your lives.
Questions for this week:
- Traditionally this parable is understood as being primarily about the younger brother, the Prodigal, but it is just as much about the attitude of the older brother. How have you seen times when the father has spoken to you either as the younger brother, the older brother, or both?
- What other stories in scripture do we see the attitudes and actions of either one of the brothers?
- How can we humble ourselves in a way that allows us to best celebrate the return of the Prodigal to the arms of the father, rather than grumbling or being filled with judgment?
- How does this shape your view of God’s fatherly love for you? What usually keeps you from approaching His throne of grace?
- What does it truly mean to be a child of God and how does that shape your identity and behavior?