There are three main characters in this parable. And all three tell us something that we need to understand and take to heart.
The wasteful Son is like us when we are out to prove ourselves and enjoy life on our principles and understanding. He disinherits his Father by asking for his share of the property. Properties were divided upon death of the patriarch of the Family. Hence, he has effectively removed his Father from his life. And then Reality hits us and we are lost even to our own selves. Take note that he lived with the pigs eventually. This signifies uncleanness and being a non-person.
Then there is the Elder Brother, he has toiled away in his Father’s service, but not understanding nor knowing his Fathers Heart. This relationship is blend. He does not understand the pain of his Father, nor the joy of reacquiring his brother. He also in a way wishes the death of his Father, because he also is shown mentioning his inheritance share, before its time. His priorities are wrong and he values wealth more than his brother. And he is hurt, because he like his brother is self-centred and cannot see beyond himself.
The unique person in this group is the Father. Unique because we can easily identify with the two brothers, because we can identify with them. Yes, parents too can identify with the father, because for them children are precious, and their wealth. There is nothing more important than family.
What Jesus is effectively telling us is the Father Heart of God. A heart which has been beating for man even before time. And even though Man rejected his relationship at the fall, he decided to respect man and yet await him to realise the value of the relationship he offers and come back to him. Eventually, God himself became man to help him see the road back to the Father. We may identify ourselves with either of the brothers, yet we ae related, and have misunderstood God. It is time to take a timeout, and sit at God’s feet and understand the heart of God Father.