Jesus used to tell stories, called parables, which showed a message.
One day he told a story about a man who had two sons, who both worked for him on his farm. Both the sons knew that when their father died, the farm would be divided up between them.
The youngest son thought about this, and asked his father if he could have his share, then soon after left to explore life away from the farm.The youngest son had a great time and wasted his money on 'living it up' as we might say now, until his money was all gone. At the same time as his money was all used up, there was a famine and he had to go and work for another farmer to support himself. This farmer sent him into the fields to look after his pigs, and one day the youngest son was so hungry he would have liked to have eaten the corn he was feeding to the pigs. But nobody said he could have some for himself to eat, so he stayed hungry.
Suddenly he stoppped in his tracks and began to think: "What on earth am I doing here? Back home, my father's servants have plenty to eat and there are leftovers. I'll go back home and tell my father that I'm sorry and see if he'll give me work as a servant, at least I'll have something to eat!"
So he travelled back towards his father's farm. When he was quite a long way away, his father saw him coming and recognized him; his father was so excited he ran to him and hugged and kissed him.
"Father," his son interrupted, "I have sinned against God and against you, I'm not good enough to be counted as your son any more."
But his father didn't listen. He called out to his servants,
"Bring me the best clothes we have and dress him in them, and put a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet.
Kill a fat calf and make a feast; we'll all have a great time! My son here was dead and now he is alive again, he was lost and now he's found."
And they were all so happy - all except the other son.
He was out in the field too, but as he came in towards the house he heard music and dancing, and he was puzzled.
"What's all this about?" he asked one of the servants.
"Your brother has come home! Your father has ordered a big feast because he has come home safely!"
The older brother got in a mood at that, and he sulked, angry, outside. His father came out and pleaded with him to join in. But no.
"Father, I've worked hard for you for many years. I've always done as you wanted. But not once have you
ever let me have a feast with MY friends. All the money you gave my brother he has wasted on parties and having a good time, yet you've made a feast for HIM."
"Son," his father said, "Everything else I've got will be yours. But the important thing is that he has realized that he has done wrong, and has come home again safely."
The meaning behind this story is that God is very happy with people like us who are sinners, when we want to accept God as our Father, and ask Him to forgive us, then give our lives to being obedient to Him. It tells us that God will forgive us our sins.
Your can read this story for yourself in Luke chapter 15 verses 11 to 32.
See if you can answer these questions:
1. Why did the younger son ask for his share of the money?
2. Why did he want to go back to his father?
3. Was it important the son said he was sorry?
4. What was the meaning of the story, for us?