Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.



Luke 15:1-3,
When the tax collectors and sinners gathered around Jesus the Pharisees and scribes complained that He mixed with sinners and ate with them. In the minds of the religious leaders there were two kinds of people: the righteous and the unrighteous. After telling them two short illustrations of what the lost meant to God, Jesus told them the parable of the lost son.

In fact, both the sons are important in this story. The father clearly loves his sons and when the younger son requests his inheritance the father hands it over to him. The young man was reckless and when a famine hit the land where he was living he had no resources on which to live. So he found himself feeding swine – something no self-respecting Jew would ever consider doing.

When he hit rock bottom he realised how foolish he was being. His thoughts turned to his father – not his village, friends or even his home, but his father. But he did not just think – he acted. When the two men met, the son’s confession was heartfelt. He did not try to justify himself or his behaviour. He asked to be taken on as a hired servant – who could be fired at a day’s notice. (A slave was almost a member of the family).

But the father would have none of it and welcomed him home, flinging his arms around him, clothing him, and throwing a party.

When the older son realised what was happening he was bitter and angry and would not join in the festivities. He was proud and self-righteous. But whilst he had worked and obeyed his father, it did not seem as if he loved his father. In a way this was like the Pharisees who followed the letter of the Law but did not love God.

In the Greek text the father comes out and calls his older son ‘child’ as a sign of his affection. The brother had no reason to complain. He should have been happy.

The message of the parable was clear. Come home. Repent. The father loves you.


Without naming names, what one word would you use to describe how you are feeling about your family at the moment Are things peaceful, stormy, challenging, exciting? (Don’t be limited by these – they are just suggestions.) Briefly share why you choose this word.


  • How do you feel when you are in a gathering of people who are ‘different’ from yourself, whatever that ‘different’ may be? What would make you feel as if you belong? Who would you like to have with you to help you to belong Who are you in this group, in comparison with who you are when you are with your own crowd? Are you ever aware of people in your crowd who feel they do not belong? How do you respond to them?
  • How honest are you with yourself? Do you admit to yourself that you have done, or are doing, things wrong? How do you feel about admitting you are wrong – in knowledge, in advice, in action to other people? Or do you hide your wrong-doing? How do you feel about making such admissions to God?
  • How do you react when people wrong you?
  • In both your own wrong-doing and wrongs done to you, where is God for you?
  • What does the Kingdom of Heaven within you now mean to you? Are you aware of its presence? How has it changed you – the way you behave, speak, believe? Do people know about it from the way you live? Are you taking an alternative position from the world because of it? Why/why not?
  • What are you doing at this point in time to seek the lost for Jesus? How important is doingthis for you today? Who are you praying for, talking to, inviting into the Kingdom of Heaven? How is it going?
  • Are you willing, this Lent, to rectify wrongs you have done; and to deal with wrongs that have been done to you Why/why not?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.

As a result of this discussion, take any action that has been raised to help you move forward and live an alternative reality in the world as a Christ-follower this week.


Luke Chapter 15

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