"The Fatted Calf"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 223

Context: The gospel of Luke, long assumed to have been written by the physician Luke, a friend of Paul, is generally held by scholars to be the writing of an unknown author who also wrote the book of Acts. The gospel of Luke includes many of the parables, simple illustrative stories, for which Jesus' teaching is noted. As Jesus journeys from Galilee to Jerusalem, preaching in the towns and villages along the way, large crowds gather to hear Him. Accused by the scribes and Pharisees of associating with publicans and sinners, Jesus justifies His actions by telling the parables of the lost sheep which the shepherd rejoices in finding, of the lost coin which the woman exuberantly reclaims, and of the prodigal son whose father gladly welcomes him home. After the son has squandered his inheritance and lived a degenerate life, he goes home with the hope that his father will hire him as a servant. Instead, the father orders his servants to:

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. . . 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.

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