Encountering Jesus: A Father and His Sons

Bible Passages

Luke 15:1-2 (NIV)
Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)


  • Property – something that belongs to you
  • To divide – separate into different parts
  • To waste – to spend or use carelessly
  • Reckless – careless; to not care if something is safe
  • Severe – very serious, very bad
  • Famine – when an area has so little food that people die of hunger
  • Bean pods – outside cover of beans or peas
  • To come to one’s senses – to begin to think clearly
  • Hired – to work for pay
  • To starve – die from hunger
  • To sin – break God’s law, to do what God said is morally wrong
  • Fit – suitable, right, good
  • Servant – one who serves others
  • Robe – long, loose piece of clothes worn on the outside
  • Prize – something given in competitions and contests; something special that people want
  • Calf – a baby cow
  • To celebrate – do something special to honor someone or remember an important time
  • Feast – a very large and fancy meal
  • In the meantime – at the same time
  • Safe and sound – free from danger, harm, risk, or hurt
  • To beg – to really, really ask for help or for something
  • Slave – a person who belongs to someone else as property
  • To disobey – to not do what someone tells you to
  • Prostitute – someone who sells his or her body for sex

Comprehension Questions

  1. What did the younger son want from his father?
  2. Where did the younger son go?
  3. What did he do with his money? Was he careful with it?
  4. What did he look for a job?
  5. What was his job?
  6. Was he hungry? How hungry was he?
  7. Why did he decide to go home? What did he realize when he “came to his senses”?
  8. What did he hope his father would do?
  9. What did he tell his father when he saw him?
  10. How did the father feel when he saw his son? What did he do?
  11. What did the servants get for the son?
  12. What did they eat at the feast?
  13. Where was the older son?
  14. What did he hear on his way home?
  15. How did he feel?
  16. What did the father ask the older son to do?
  17. Did the son agree? How do you know?
  18. Why did the father want to celebrate?

Discussion Questions

  1. Who are the three main people in this story?
  2. What kind of person was the younger brother?
  3. What do you think he went to a country far away?
  4. What was his attitude when he left home?
  5. What was his attitude when he went home?
  6. How do you think he felt after he got home?
  7. How would you have felt if you were the younger brother?
  8. What kind of person was the older brother?
  9. Why do you think he stayed home and didn’t leave?
  10. How do you think he felt about his younger brother?
  11. How do you think he felt about his father?
  12. Do you agree with his feelings? How would you have felt if you were him?
  13. What kind of person was the father?
  14. How did he treat his sons? How did he feel towards his sons?
  15. Did the father love the younger son more? The older son more?
  16. Did the younger son really die? What did the father mean?
  17. Why did Jesus tell this story? What does it mean?

Thoughts for Later

  1. What is Jesus telling us about God in this story? What is God really like? Have we ever thought of God like this?
  2. What is Jesus telling us about turning to God? What must we do to have a relationship with God?
  3. What is our relationship with God like? Is it like either the younger son or the older son?