Luke 15:15 says that the prodigal son “went and hired himself out”. He entered into the service of “one of the citizens”. The Greek word translated “hired” literally means “glued”. It implies that he forced himself on the citizen, who hired him just to get him off his back. It seems that he was, at this point, willing to do any kind of work, no matter how debasing. This citizen was an inhabitant of one of the cities or town in that region and probably a property owner.
The citizen “sent him into his fields” (Luke 15:15), that is out of the city in which he lived. And what was he to do? “Feed pigs”. This was a disgusting and extremely low level of employment, especially for a Jew. It was forbidden for a Jew to eat swine, and of course it was unlawful for one to own one. To be compelled to go feed them, then, was absolute degradation.
The image here is that sin brings us the most debased places in life, and there is no better illustration for the Jew than this.
The Savior illustrates for us the effect that sin had on us. By embracing sin, we hired ourselves out to participate in the lowest form of life, far away from the Father. It is from this degradation that through Jesus Christ, the Father has raised us and will eventually bring us into eternal glory with Himself.