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The parable of the Prodigal Son, found in the Gospel of Luke 15:11-32, is a profound narrative about repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The symbols of the ring and sandals given to the returning son by his father carry deep significance.

The Signet Ring

In biblical times, a signet ring functioned much like an official seal or a modern-day credit card, used to sign documents and guarantee the holder’s commitments. It was a symbol of trust, authority, and financial power. Transferring a signet ring signified a transfer of authority and trust.

In the Old Testament, Pharaoh appointing Joseph as his prime minister is an example of this symbolism. Pharaoh gave Joseph his ring, signifying Joseph’s new position and authority: “And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck” (Gen 41:42).

Similarly, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, when the father gives his returning son a ring, it symbolizes the son’s restoration to his former status within the family. Despite the son’s past actions, he is forgiven and reinstated with full authority and trust.

The Sandals

The giving of sandals also holds symbolic meaning. In ancient times, wearing sandals was a sign of freedom and belonging. Servants and slaves typically did not wear sandals. By giving his son sandals, the father was restoring him to his rightful place as a family member, with all the associated rights and privileges.

This act signifies that the son is fully accepted back into the family, not as a servant or outsider but as a beloved son.


We, as Christians, are often like the Prodigal Son. We stray from the path, make poor choices, and squander the gifts that God has given us. However, just as the father in the parable eagerly awaited his son’s return, our Heavenly Father awaits our return with open arms.

Unlike the elder brother in the parable who resented his sibling’s return, Jesus, our elder brother, actively seeks us out. He came to earth to find us, redeem us from our sins, and restore us to our rightful place as children of God: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20).

Through Jesus, we are given the privilege to call God our Father and share in His three-fold authority: the royal priesthood, servant leadership, and the prophetic role. This sharing of authority and status calls us to live responsibly, embodying our faith’s values daily.

As Christians, the parable of the Prodigal Son invites us to reflect on the boundless mercy and love of our Heavenly Father. It calls us to return to Him whenever we stray, assured that He will welcome us back with joy and restore us to our rightful place.

We are reminded that with the privileges granted to us as children of God comes the responsibility to live out our faith actively. We are called to exercise our royal priesthood by living lives of holiness, to engage in servant leadership by serving others selflessly, and to embrace our prophetic role by witnessing to the truth of the Gospel in our words and actions.

May we always remember that no matter how far we wander, God’s grace is sufficient to bring us back, restore us, and empower us to live as His beloved children. Let us embrace this divine mercy, live in the fullness of our Christian identity, and strive to reflect God’s love and authority in our everyday lives.

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