What Is the Theme of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?

The central theme of the parable of the prodigal son is forgiveness. The parable tells the tale of two brothers, one of whom asks for his inheritance while his father is still alive. The father agrees, but the son squanders his wealth by living wildly in his travels.

The son takes a job as a servant but is so destitute that he wishes he could eat the slop that he feeds to the pigs in his care. The son returns to beg the father to be his servant, knowing that his father treats his servants better and expecting that the relationship is severed. Instead, the father welcomes him with open arms and prepares a feast, rejoicing that his son has seen the error of his ways and is repentant for them.