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Bible Studies

Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 17
The Prodigal Son

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 5:17-20, 5:31-32, 6:24, 11:12-13, Luke 15:11-32, 16:1-31

This lesson includes three of Jesus' parables about wealth - its uses and abuses. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the best known of Jesus' parables. It tells the wonderful story of a father's love and mercy for his wayward son. The Parable of the Shrewd Manager shows us how to use worldly goods wisely. The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus corrects some common misconceptions about wealth. Sandwiched among these parables is Jesus' teaching on divorce.

1. Questions 1-3 refer to the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).
a) How was the father's reaction to the return of his younger son different than what might have been expected?
b) How is God's love for us like the father's love for his younger son? (See Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 15:1-7.)

2. a) What was the older son's reaction to the return of his younger brother?
b) Why was his attitude wrong? (See Matthew 5:21-22, Luke 6:36-38, 18:9-14, Romans 12:16, 1 John 1:8-10.)

3. a) What lesson does the parable teach us about God's attitude toward sinners?
b) How should we approach God for forgiveness of our sins? (See Luke 15:4-7, James 4:8-10.)

4. Questions 4-6 refer to the Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-13). This is one of the most difficult of Jesus' parables to understand. Perhaps it was based on a story or incident that was familiar to people at the time. It seems the manager in the parable is being commended and rewarded for his dishonesty, and it is difficult to get past that problem to see the parable's true meaning.

It was actually the manager's shrewdness that was commended in the parable, not his dishonesty. In what way should we strive to be like the shrewd manager? (See Luke 16:8-9, 12:33-34, John 6:27, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Peter 4:10,

5. a) What is meant by "true riches" in Luke 16:11?
b) What must we do to demonstrate that we can be trusted with "true riches"? (See Matthew 6:19-21, 6:31-33, 16:26, John 6:27, 1 Timothy 6:17.)

6. The lesson of the parable is stated another way in Luke 16:13: "You cannot serve both God and Money."
a) What are some examples of ways wealth can be used to serve God?
b) What are some uses of wealth that demonstrate that money is the master being served instead of God?

7. What did Jesus say about the Law of Moses and the prophets? (See Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 16:16-17, Matthew 7:12, 22:37-40, 23:23.)

8. a) What did Jesus say about divorce?
b) How is the teaching about divorce in Matthew different from Mark and Luke? (See Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11.)

9. Questions 9-12 refer to the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). How were the positions of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus reversed after death? (See Matthew 23:11-12, Luke 13:28-30.)

10. What is the main lesson of the parable?

11. Will we get another chance to repent after we die?

12. According to the parable, should we look for signs and miracles to support our faith? Why?

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