Stories from the Life of Christ Told to the Children - Janet Kelman

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto Jesus, "Depart hence, for Herod will kill thee."

And he said unto them, "Go ye and tell that fox, behold, I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to-day and to-morrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen cloth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!"

Then drew near unto Jesus all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, "This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them."

And Jesus said, "A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.'

"And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his money with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land: and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a man of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have fed on the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

"And when he came to himself he said, 'How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.'

"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.'

"But the father said to his servants, 'Bring forth the best robe and put it on him. And put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and be merry. For this my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.'

"And they began to be merry.

"Now his elder son was in the field, and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, 'Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.'

"And he was angry, and would not go in. Therefore came his father out and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, 'Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither disobeyed I at any time thy commandment, and yet thou never gayest me a kid that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this thy son was come which hath wasted thy living, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.'

"And he said unto him, 'Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again, and was lost, and is found.'"

And again Jesus spake another parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.

"Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, or even as this tax-gatherer. I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.'

"And the tax-gatherer standing afar off would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'

"I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other."