BibleProject Luke-Acts Series - Lesson 3

The Prodigal Son (Luke 9-19) - BibleProject

In this lesson, you will explore Jesus' journey to Jerusalem as he continues to spread the good news of God's Kingdom to the poor and marginalized. As Jesus travels, he teaches and shares parables that challenge his followers to rethink their values and priorities, especially in regard to money, conflict, and the treatment of the poor. Jesus creates communities where greed is transformed into generosity, anger into forgiveness, and outsiders are welcomed. As Jesus continues his journey, tension with Israel's religious leaders intensifies, culminating in the famous parable of the Prodigal Son. This parable exemplifies Jesus' message that God's mercy is available to everyone, even those who have lost their way. As the journey ends, conflict reaches a boiling point, and Jesus arrives in Jerusalem for Passover.
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BibleProject Luke-Acts Series
Lesson 3
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The Prodigal Son (Luke 9-19) - BibleProject

BP160-03: Part three explores the central part of Luke's Gospel

I. Jesus' Journey to Jerusalem

A. Comparison to Moses and David

B. Jesus' Followers Preparing the Way

II. Teachings and Parables

A. Rethinking Money, Conflict Resolution, and Treatment of the Poor

B. Creating Jesus Communities

III. Good News for the Marginalized

A. Healing and Reaching Out to the Outcasts

B. Criticism from Israel's Religious Leaders

IV. The Battle of the Banquets

A. Symbolism of Jesus' Dinner Parties

B. Jesus' Confrontations with Religious Leaders

V. Parable of the Prodigal Son

A. The Rebellious Younger Son

B. The Father's Compassion and Celebration

C. The Resentful Older Brother

D. Jesus' Message to the Religious Leaders

VI. The Conclusion of Jesus' Journey

A. The Boiling Point of Conflict

B. Jesus' Arrival in Jerusalem for Passover

  • In this lesson, you learn about the events surrounding Jesus' birth in the Gospel of Luke, the humble beginnings that foreshadow his kingdom, and how his arrival signifies a world order turned upside down, exalting the poor and humble.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into Jesus' ministry, his teachings on freedom and radical living, the appointment of his twelve disciples, and his role as the ultimate prophet, as portrayed in the Gospel of Luke.
  • Through Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, you learn how his teachings and parables challenge traditional values, create communities of love and forgiveness, and demonstrate God's mercy for all, even those who have strayed from the path.
  • Through Jesus' final week in Jerusalem, you'll discover his prophetic protest, arrest, and crucifixion, highlighting his innocence and unwavering love for humanity, as he ushers in a new future for Israel and all people.
  • In this lesson, you learn about Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension as depicted in Luke's Gospel, revealing the transformative power of his message and the necessity for a new understanding of his kingdom, ultimately setting the stage for the continuation of the story in the Book of Acts.
  • In the Book of Acts, you learn about the fulfillment of God's promises through Jesus, the significance of Pentecost, and the challenges faced by early followers of Jesus. As you explore the events and stories in Acts, you will gain insight into how Jesus' kingdom continued to grow despite persecution and adversity.
  • Through the stories of unexpected converts, Saul's transformation, and the formation of the church in Antioch, you'll learn how the Jesus movement expanded from a small group of Jewish followers to a multi-ethnic community spreading throughout the world.
  • By studying the Apostle Paul's life and travels, you'll gain insight into his dedication to spreading Jesus' message throughout the Roman Empire, despite facing opposition and hardship, and how his teachings transformed people's lives and created new communities of believers living under Jesus' rule.
  • This lesson explores Paul's journey to Jerusalem and Rome, where he faced trials and imprisonment but continued to spread the good news of Jesus' kingdom. You will gain insight into the transformation of Saul into Paul, his mission to unify diverse communities, and the open-ended conclusion of Acts, which invites participation in the ongoing growth of Jesus' kingdom.
BP160-03 - The Prodigal Son (Luke 9-19) The Gospel of Luke opened with the birth of Jesus. Then Luke showed us how Jesus was Israel's Messiah, announcing the good news of God's Kingdom to the poor and how he was God's true prophet to Israel. In this next section, Jesus sets out with his disciples on a long road trip to Jerusalem where they will join thousands of Israelites to celebrate the ancient feast of Passover. Luke wants this road trip from the mountain to Jerusalem to remind you of ancient Israel's long road trip. With Moses, they went from Mount Sinai to the Promised Land. Later King David established Jerusalem as their capital. Here Luke is portraying Jesus as a new Moses who is renewing Israel's covenant with God. As a new David, he is gathering the people together to live under his rule. As Jesus leaves he sends out a wave of his followers ahead of him to prepare each new place for his visit. Then Jesus would arrive, announcing the good news of God's Kingdom, and he would call people to follow him and join this new thing God was doing in Israel. There are many of his teachings and parables in this section specifically about how following Jesus will force you to totally rethink your money, how you resolve conflict, and how you treat the poor. In every town Jesus would create communities of people who were learning to live in a totally new way so that greed would be transformed into generosity, and anger into forgiveness. In these Jesus communities, all outsiders are welcome. Yeah, good news for the poor. That is one of Luke's main themes. Yeah, you will find it all over this section: in the marginalized people that he heals, the shamed sex workers he reaches out to, the tax collectors he includes. This is Jesus' Kingdom crew. Israel's religious leaders watch and start to criticize him. If he really is God's prophet, why is he welcoming sinners and eating with them? Yeah, this section reads like the battle of the banquets. Jesus throws these dinner parties as a symbol of how God's kingdom is here for the sick and the poor, people who could never pay him back. Jesus also attends banquets with Israel's religious leaders. Yeah, and he lays into them for becoming an arrogant, exclusive social club. But they don't get it. So, he tells them a famous parable that goes like this: There was the father who had two sons. The older son is trustworthy and honors his father. The younger son is a mess. He rebels and cashes in his inheritance to travel far away and blow it all on partying and being stupid. Then there is a famine in the land and he runs out of money. So he has to scrape by by taking care of somebody's pigs. He is so hungry, he wants to eat the pig slop. At which point it occurs to him, "If I'm going to be a farm hand, I might as well go home and work for my Dad. At least I won't be eating pig food." So he treks back home, rehearsing his apology. The father is certain that his son did not survive the famine But then, one day he sees someone walking down the road. It's his son. He's not dead! So the father runs to him and embraces his son, kissing him all over. The son starts his speech. "Dad, I don't deserve to be your son. Maybe I could come and work for you." Before he can finish, the father calls his servants to go get the nicest robe, new sandals, a fancy ring for his son. They are to prepare the best food for a banquet. It is time to celebrate. Later that day the older brother arrives from a long day working in the field to discover his long-lost, loser of a brother has come home, and they are celebrating. He gets angry. Think about it. He has been faithful to his father all of these years. He never got a party like this. Then this disgrace of a family member comes home and they are going to celebrate him? It is disgusting. He refuses to join the banquet. So the father finds the older brother outside, and he says, "Son, you are already in our family. Everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate your brother because he was lost and now he is found. He was dead but now he is alive. Jesus wants the religious leaders to see the outsiders the way God sees them: as sons and daughters that are being reclaimed from death. Jesus' kingdom community was wide open to anybody. The only entry requirement is to humble yourself and recognize your need for God's mercy. So, the religious leaders' rejection of Jesus and his crew is actually a rejection of the God of Israel. The leaders don't like all this. So, as Jesus' road trip comes to an end, the conflict is at a boiling point. Yeah, he is going to ride towards Jerusalem for Passover as they plot to take his life. That is what the next section of Luke is all about.