In order to get a clearer picture of what happens to people after death, it is not a bad idea to look at the background of the various parables that Jesus told. Previously we looked at the rich man who ended up in sheol (hell or the grave) and the beggar Lazarus who ended up in Abraham’s bosom. But before we come back to that, let us look at the stories of the prodigal son, the unjust steward.
The Prodigal son
“11 He said moreover, A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of the goods that falleth to me. So he divided unto them his substance. 13 So not many days after, when the younger son had gathered all together, he took his journey into a far country, and there he wasted his goods with riotous living. 14 Now when he had spent all, there arose a great dearth throughout that land, and he began to be in necessity. 15 Then he went and clave to a citizen of that country, and he sent him to his farm, to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks, that the swine ate: but no man gave them him. 17 Then he came to himself, and said, How many hired servants at my fathers have bread enough, and I die for hunger? 18 I will rise and go to my father, and say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 So he arose and came to his father, and when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 Then the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, 23 And bring the fat calf, and kill him, and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again: and he was lost, but he is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now the elder brother was in the field, and when he came and drew near to the house, he heard melody, and dancing, 26 And called one of his servants, and asked what those things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 Then he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out and entreated him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, Lo, these many years have I done thee service, neither brake I at any time thy commandment, and yet thou never gavest me a kid that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But when this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy good with harlots, thou hast for his sake killed the fat calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have, is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again: and he was lost, but he is found. 32 (Lu 15:11-32 GenevaBible)
In verses 11-32, that most beautiful and touching of all parables, our Lord further justified his position by depicting the depth of sin and misery into which the prodigal son had fallen, and the gladness with which the father had received him again.
So, although the publicans and sinners had wasted their substance spiritual in “riotous living,” and had even associated themselves with the Gentiles, it pleased God to receive them with gladness on their sincere repentance. Not only was He pleased to receive them, but He also made a feast of spiritual good things for them; and just as the father in the parable bestowed on his repentant, returning son the best robe, the ring and the shoes, so did the heavenly Father bestow on the repentant publicans and sinners the best robe of righteousness (that which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, much superior to that of the Law), the hope of immortality in the high calling just then being opened up (a ring or circle, being endless, symbolizes immortality), and the shoes, the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, wearing which their walk and conversation would be better than it had been.
In this parable the murmuring scribes and Pharisees are represented by the elder son, who would not take part in the merry-making, but in a discontented spirit boasted of his righteousness and long service to the father. The kindness and long-suffering of God toward the Pharisees are shown in this, that the privileges were all theirs, as well, and they were desired to partake of them (“All that I have is thine”) , and to rejoice in the return of the penitents. The Pharisees and scribes should have appreciated this, and should have taken the lesson to heart; but they were not so disposed; therefore the Lord proceeded, in the parable of the unjust steward.
– The New Covenant Advocate June 1909 p. 43
The Dead — Where Are They? 22 The unjust steward
- Statistically not interesting
- The gospel in story form
- Parables: The Power of What Is Not There
- Jesus speaks in parables – the parable of the prodigal son in the tavern
- The Parable of The Prodigal Son
- Parable from Luke 15: The Prodigal Son Meets The Prodigal Band (Part One)
- Lost and Found, Part III
- Lost and Found, Part IV
- Wandering off the right path
- The Lost Sheep / Coin and the Prodigal Son: April 13th 2021
- Rescued from the Lost and Found
- Message of the Day: The Story of the Two Sons. Which Son Was Truly Lost?
- Reckless Faith
- Devotion for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C (Humes)
- The Lost Son–Luke 15:11-32
- The Prodigal Son (God’s Reckless Love)
- The Gospel According to Luke: An Exposition, Part 41 – Luke 15:11-24: “The World’s Most Beloved Short Story, Part 1”
- The Gospel According to Luke: An Exposition, Part 42 – Luke 15:25-32: “The World’s Most Beloved Short Story, Part 2”
- The Prodigal Son: The Prideful Brother
- Repentance – Part 1
- Repentance – Part 2
- The Prodigal Son | The Whole Armour Of God
- Prodigal Love
- 39. The Prodigal Son’s Sister In Law
- The Prodigal Son: Where Art and Beauty Run Rampant
- Picturing the Father Part Three
- the Prodigal returns