“This parable is sometimes called ‘the parable of the two sons.’ But earlier we hinted that there are actually three sons. Have you recognized the third son? Count the sons. One left home and returned. A second stayed at home but remained far away. Where is the third son?
The third son is the Son who is telling the story. He is the Son who was at home with His Father but came to the far country. If we miss Him, we miss the meaning of the parable. For the characters in it—however true to life they may be—are imaginary. Jesus, however, is not.
He is the One who, through costly grace and great humiliation, provides the way for prodigal sons to be welcomed home. This is what the story is really all about. As He told it, Jesus was talking both to prodigal sons and elder brothers, and inviting them to come to Him, to trust in Him, and to experience the joy of being His.”
–Sinclair B. Ferguson, By Grace Alone (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2010), 28.