VERSES: Luke 15:11-32
MEMORY VERSE: Luke 15:17 "And when he came to himself..."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: 1 Kings Write "1 Kings" on small slips of paper, so the students may memorize another book of the Old Testament at home.
PRAYER: Pray that we will stay in God's loving family and be protected and cared for. God loves us; let us show our love to Him by doing His commandments.
SPECIAL SONG: Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear song.)
VISUAL AID: Draw a large Activity on whiteboard or chalkboard (see Activity below)
- Jesus had been teaching different parables to the people and He told one more-The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus said, "There was a man who had two sons. One day the younger son said to his father, "Father, give me my inheritance." So the man divided his money up between his two sons. Not too long after the younger son had received his money, he gathered all of his things together and moved to faraway country and wasted all his money with riotous or rowdy, uncontrolled, and undisciplined living. Whatever the younger son wanted to do, he did it until he had spent all of his money and had nothing left.
- Then the unexpected happened. There was a great famine in this faraway country and there was no food and the prodigal son was hungry. Since he had wasted all of his money, he had no food and no friends and no family. There was no one who would help him, so he got a job. His boss sent him out to the fields to feed the pigs. The younger son was so hungry that he would have gladly eaten the garbage that the pigs ate.
- But, then the young man came to his senses, and he said to himself, "How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread to eat at home, and here I am dying from hunger! I know what I will do! I will go back home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you and am no more worthy to be called your son. Please make me like one of your hired servants."
- This was a very reasonable and mature way of thinking! The young man got up and headed home, back to his father. But, when he was a long way down the road, his father saw him, and had compassion on him, and ran to him and fell on his son's neck and kissed him. His father had been looking for him every day and, finally, his son had come home! What a happy day!
- The younger son said to his father, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to called your son.' But the father said to his other servants, "Bring him the best robe and put it on him. Bring a ring for his hand and shoes for his feet! Prepare a feast and let us eat and be happy! My son was dead and is alive again! He was lost and now he is found!' Everyone was happy that the prodigal son had come home--or almost everyone!
- His older brother had been working out in the field and as he got closer to the house, he could hear music and dancing. He did not know what was going on, so he called to one of the servants and asked what had happened. Why was there music and celebration? The servant told the older son that his younger brother had come home and his father had made a feast or banquet because he had come home safe and sound. But the older son was angry and would not even go into the house! Finally, his father came out to him and urged him to come in and celebrate.
- But, the older son said to his father, "I have served you all of these years and have not sinned against you, and you have never made a feast for me that I might celebrate with my friends! But, as soon as your son, who has wasted all of his money, came home, you have made a feast for him!" The father explained to the older son, "Son, you have always been with me, and all that I have is yours. It is good that we should celebrate and be happy. Your brother who was dead is alive again, and was lost, but now he is found!'"
- What this parable means: Even more valuable than a lamb or coin, this story tells of a man who was lost and was found alive! After making bad decisions, the best decision the young man made was to go home, ask for his father's forgiveness, and become a son again. That is what it is like for someone who has left God and realizes his mistake, asks for forgiveness of his sins, and returns to the Lord. The father had been looking for the day that his son was coming home. He had been looking down the road for him. That, too, is like God watching for the sinner to come home. Then, when the sinner returns to his home, the Father is filled with so much compassion and happiness that all is forgiven. The older son is like some Christians today who are selfish and are without compassion and forgiveness towards the sinner who has come to their senses like the prodigal son.
- The word "prodigal" means "one who is wasteful."
- Feeding pigs was probably one of the lowest and worst jobs that the younger son could have performed. Being a Jew, pigs were 'unclean' and not eaten, so being right down there in the mud with the pigs would have been a great insult to a Jewish man.
- It is interesting to note that the prodigal son returned home without even wearing any shoes on his feet!
- Notice, also, the father's tremendous joy when his younger returns home! When we have separated ourselves from God by sinning, God is grieved, yet, when we return back to Him with godly repentance, God feels more joyous than the prodigal son's father! God loves us so!
Materials needed: 9" x 12" yellow construction paper, marker, crayons.
- Hand out yellow paper.
- Fold 2" of top edge of paper down.
- Fold paper in half.
- Trace on lines (see picture).
- Write "What the PRODIGAL SON was given when he returned home" and "Luke 15:11-32" in top box on yellow paper.
- Number each box: 1, 2, 3, 4.
- In Box #1: Write "best robe" and draw a colorful robe or coat in the box.
- In Box #2: Write "ring" and draw a ring in the box.
- In Box #3: Write "shoes" and draw a picture of shoes in the box.
- In Box #4: Write "love" and draw a picture of a heart in the box.