18If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
22And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Deuteronomy 5:16, we recall, commands children to honour their father and mother, and so the prodigal son has broken that commandment. The OT law is harsh to say the least! In Christ's parable, however, the son's father - our Heavenly Father - is merciful and loving-kind, even though he is 'worthy of death'. Instead of applying the law, the father runs to his younger son and restores him to his sonship, giving him a ring and a rich garment like a vestment. Christ, the Son of Man, is accused of being a glutton and a drunkard and associate of sinners (cf Luke 7:34). But there is no mercy for Him from the religious authorities. He is handed over to the elders, the Sanhedrin, and killed 'without the gate' (Hebrews 13:12). Being sinless and undeserving of death, Christ 'redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree' (Galatians 3:13).