The Meaning of Luke 15:24 Explained

Luke 15:24

KJV: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

YLT: because this my son was dead, and did live again, and he was lost, and was found; and they began to be merry.

Darby: for this my son was dead and has come to life, was lost and has been found. And they began to make merry.

ASV: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

What does Luke 15:24 Mean?

Context Summary

Luke 15:11-24 - The Son Who "came To Himself" And To His Father
The pearl of parables! Too often we desire God's gifts apart from Himself. The far country is not far in actual distance, but in the alienation of the heart. You may be living in a pious home and yet be in the far country. Sin is waste. The far country is always swept by famine, because our soul was made for God and cannot live on husks. Neither things nor people can really appease our awful hunger if we are away from God.
Sin is temporary madness. The first step to God is to come to ourselves. The prodigal's real nature stood face to face with the ruin and havoc of his sin. Never, for a moment, had the Father ceased to love and yearn. There was an instant response to the slightest indication of repentance. Love was quicker than words, to understand what the prodigal meant. The confession was therefore cut short. Note the profuse welcome, meeting every need-the robe of righteousness, the ring of reconciliation, the kiss of love, the shoes of a holy walk, the feast of fellowship. [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 15

1  The parable of the lost sheep;
8  of the piece of silver;
11  of the prodigal son

Greek Commentary for Luke 15:24

And is alive [και ανεζησεν]
First aorist active indicative of αναζαω — anazaō to live again. Literally, he was dead and he came back to life. [source]
He was lost [ην απολωλως]
He was found, we have to say, but this aorist passive is really timeless, he is found after long waiting (effective aorist) The artists have vied with each other in picturing various items connected with this wonderful parable. [source]
Is alive - is found [ἀνέζησεν - εὑρέθη]
Both aorists, and pointing back to a definite time in the past; doubtless the moment when he “came to himself.” Wyc., hath lived. The Prodigal Son is a favorite subject in Christian art. The return of the penitent is the point most frequently chosen, but the dissipation in the far country and the degradation among the swine are also treated. The dissipation is the subject of an interesting picture by the younger Teniers in the gallery of the Louvre. The prodigal is feasting at a table with two courte-sans, in front of an inn, on the open shutter of which a tavern-score is chalked. An old woman leaning on a stick begs alms, possibly foreshadowing the fate of the females at the table. The youth holds out his glass, which a servant fills with wine. In the right-hand corner appears a pigsty where a stable-boy is feeding the swine, but with his face turned toward the table, as if in envy of the gay revellers there. All the costumes and other details of the picture are Dutch. Holbein also represents him feasting with his mistress, and gambling with a sharper who is sweeping the money off the table. The other points of the story are introduced into the background. Jan Steen paints him at table in a garden before an inn. A man plays the guitar, and two children are blowing bubbles - “an allegory of the transient pleasures of the spendthrift.” Mrs. Jameson remarks that the riotous living is treated principally by the Dutch painters. The life among the swine is treated by Jordaens in the Dresden Gallery. The youth, with only a cloth about his loins, approaches the trough where the swine are feeding, extends his hand, and seems to ask food of a surly swineherd, who points him to the trough. In the left-hand corner a young boor is playing on a pipe, a sorrowful contrast to the delicious music of the halls of pleasure. Salvator Rosa pictures him in a landscape, kneeling with clasped hands amid a herd of sheep, oxen, goats, and swine. Rubens, in a farm-stable, on his knees near a trough, where a woman is feeding some swine. He looks imploringly at the woman. One of the finest examples of the treatment of the return is by Murillo, in the splendid picture in the gallery of the Duke of Sutherland. It is thus described by Stirling (“Annals of the Artists of Spain”): “The repentant youth, locked in the embrace of his father, is, of course, the principal figure; his pale, emaciated countenance bespeaks the hardships of his husk-coveting time, and the embroidery on his tattered robe the splendor of his riotous living. A little white dog, leaping up to caress him, aids in telling the story. On one side of this group a man and a boy lead in the fatted calf; on the other appear three servants bearing a light-blue silk dress of Spanish fashion, and the gold ring; and one of them seems to be murmuring at the honors in preparation for the lost one.”-DIVIDER-
[source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 15:24

Luke 9:25 Lose [ἀπολέσας]
“When he might have been saved” (Bengel). This word, in classical Greek, is used: 1. Of death in battle or elsewhere. 2. Of laying waste, as a city or heritage. 3. Of losing of life, property, or other objects. As an active verb, to kill or demolish. 4. Of being demoralized, morally abandoned or ruined, as children under bad influences. In New Testament of killing (Matthew 2:13; Matthew 12:14). 5. Of destroying and perishing, not only of human life, but of material and intellectual things (1 Corinthians 1:19; John 6:27; Mark 2:22; 1 Peter 1:7; James 1:11; Hebrews 1:11). 6. Of losing (Matthew 10:6, Matthew 10:42; Luke 15:4, Luke 15:6, Luke 15:8). Of moral abandonment (Luke 15:24, Luke 15:32). 7. Of the doom of the impenitent (Matthew 10:28; Luke 13:3; John 3:15; John 10:28; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 2:12. [source]
Luke 16:19 Fine linen [βύσσον]
ByssusA yellowish flax, and the linen made from it. Herodotus says it was used for enveloping mummies (ii., 86), a statement confirmed by microscopic examinations. He also speaks of it as a bandage for a wound (vii., 181). It is the word used by the Septuagint for linen (Luke 15:23, Luke 15:24, Luke 15:29, Luke 15:32. Wyc., he ate, each day, shiningly. [source]
Luke 15:32 It was meet [εδει]
Imperfect tense. It expressed a necessity in the father‘s heart and in the joy of the return that justifies the feasting. Ευπραντηναι — Euphranthēnai is used again (first aorist passive infinitive) and χαρηναι — charēnai (second aorist passive infinitive) is more than mere hilarity, deep-seated joy. The father repeats to the elder son the language of his heart used in Luke 15:24 to his servants. A real father could do no less. One can well imagine how completely the Pharisees and scribes (Luke 15:2) were put to silence by these three marvellous parables. The third does it with a graphic picture of their own attitude in the case of the surly elder brother. Luke was called a painter by the ancients. Certainly he has produced a graphic pen picture here of God‘s love for the lost that justifies forever the coming of Christ to the world to seek and to save the lost. It glorifies also soul-saving on the part of his followers who are willing to go with Jesus after the lost in city and country, in every land and of every race. [source]
Romans 7:9 Revived [ἀνέζησεν]
Not came to life, but lived again. See Luke 15:24, Luke 15:32. The power of sin is originally and in its nature living; but before the coming of the commandment its life is not expressed. When the commandment comes, it becomes alive again. It lies dormant, like the beast at the door (Genesis 4:7), until the law stirs it up. The tendency of prohibitory law to provoke the will to resistance is frequently recognized in the classics. Thus, Horace: “The human race, presumptuous to endure all things, rushes on through forbidden wickedness” (Ode, i., 3,25). Ovid: “The permitted is unpleasing; the forbidden consumes us fiercely” (“Amores,” i., 19,3). “We strive against the forbidden and ever desire what is denied” (Id., i., 4,17). Seneca: “Parricides began with the law, and the punishment showed them the crime” (“De Clementia,” i., 23). Cato, in his speech on the Oppian law; says: “It is safer that a wicked man should even never be accused than that he should be acquitted; and luxury, if it had never been meddled with, would he more tolerable than it will be now, like a wild beast, irritated by having been chained and then let loose” (Livy, xxxiv., 4). [source]
Romans 15:10 Rejoice [εὐφράνθητε]
Frequently in the New Testament of merry-making. Luke 12:19; Luke 15:23, Luke 15:24. See on fared sumptuously, Luke 16:19. [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 15:24 mean?

For this - son of mine dead was and is alive again he was lost is found they began to be merry
ὅτι οὗτος υἱός μου νεκρὸς ἦν καὶ ἀνέζησεν ἦν ἀπολωλὼς εὑρέθη ἤρξαντο εὐφραίνεσθαι

οὗτος  this 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
υἱός  son 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: υἱός  
Sense: a son.
μου  of  mine 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
νεκρὸς  dead 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: νεκρός  
Sense: properly.
ἀνέζησεν  is  alive  again 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀναζάω  
Sense: live again, recover life.
ἦν  he  was 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ἀπολωλὼς  lost 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀπόλλυμι  
Sense: to destroy.
εὑρέθη  is  found 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εὑρίσκω  
Sense: to come upon, hit upon, to meet with.
ἤρξαντο  they  began 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ἄρχω  
Sense: to be the first to do (anything), to begin.
εὐφραίνεσθαι  to  be  merry 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Root: εὐφραίνω  
Sense: to gladden, make joyful.