Luke 15 is not three parables, but a single parable with three illustrations or stories. We become so focused on the STORIES we miss the CONTEXT. Jesus was responding to Pharisees who were complaining that Jesus was hanging out with sinners. While there are many great messages to be drawn from the stories, the main idea was to answer why Jesus was hanging out with the people He was hanging out with.Jesus was reaching those who wandered off and were lost, those who were lost for some unknown reason, and the deliberately disobedient.
The prodigal’s older brother actually represented the Pharisees, who resented that Jesus would receive sinners. The Pharisees were concerned about themselves, but Jesus was concerned about the lost.
As a church, what are we concerned about?