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THE LOST SON – PART 1 Have you ever lost a pet? What did you do to find it? Describe the experience. Have you ever lost money in your house, or forgot where you put it? Describe. Have you ever lost a child in a crowd? Describe that experience. What is the difference between losing a pet, money or a child? What does this tell you about why Jesus told back to back parables of a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son in Luke 15? Read Luke 15:11-32. If such an event of a son asking for his inheritance early (as in v.12) was unheard of in Middle Eastern culture, why did Jesus use this in the parable. How would most fathers react? What does this tell about the father in the parable? How does the cultural background of the closeness of the Middle Eastern community influence your understanding of the parable? What would have been their reaction to a son like this in their community? In Henri Nouwen’s book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, he tells of the voices of the far country that call us to leave home where we are loved and accepted. What kinds of things do those voices say to us, especially when we are young? What might “the far country” symbolize? What often happens to people in the far country? What happened to the young man? What does it mean that the young man “came to his senses?” What scenario or plan did he come up with to get out of the mess he was in? Why would this plan fail in many situations? What was day to day life like for the father? What might it mean that the father “ran” to his son? How does the understanding of the running rich man, drawing ridicule and attention to himself and away from the son affect your understanding of the father? If you were the son in that moment of the father’s embrace, how would you respond? Why did the son still try to give his speech? What did the father do in response to the speech? How did the father view the return of his son? What was Jesus teaching through this parable?
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