Jesus taught this parable for a specific reason: “that men ought always to pray and never stop praying.” Because God has given us the privilege of communicating with Him, we should take advantage of this opportunity continuously.
It was not uncommon for wealthy businessmen to train carefully selected servants for the task described in this parable. In this case, large sums of money were entrusted to them in his absence. However, such trust does not guarantee the servants will be responsible while he is away.
Parables begin with that which is familiar in order that we might understand that which is less familiar. Parables incorporate things that are known in order to reveal what is spiritually unknown.
Self-righteous men always compare themselves to the rest of the populace. Despising others is a by-product of trusting in good deeds in order to obtain salvation. This parable serves as a warning to all who believe the cumulative total of their works will save them.
In this parable, Jesus makes it clear He is comparing soil with human response. Because the kingdom of God is subject to a variety of responses, Jesus calls every Believer to carefully consider how he allows God’s Word to take root.
This story is fresh, simple, profound, powerful and timeless. It is not a parable from nature, like The Seed and Soil (Mt. 13:1-23), but from human nature. Jesus taught it in order to contrast selfishness with selflessness.
Those attempting to describe the character of the young man in this parable label him “the prodigal.” The word means “reckless, extravagant and wasteful.” It has been called “The Pearl of the Parables,” for it perfectly describes how a sinner can go from rags to riches. Charles Dickens deemed it “the greatest short story ever written.”