Have you ever seen something familiar “for the first time”? You know, see a person, a place or a thing in a new way and different way? In the book of Luke is the story Jesus tells about “The Prodigal son” (Luke 15: 11-32). The word prodigal means, wasteful or reckless. This story is one of three he tells in response to a complaint some religious leaders have, because Jesus eats and talks with everyone, treating everyone as if they are important. Well, this story is about a Dad and two boys.
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.
The adult, younger son in this story decides he needs to experience life. He feels like there is something he is missing out on. He convinces his dad to give him his expected inheritance to find that missing person or thing. Dad agrees. The young buck goes off and this happens.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So, he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’
So, the now humble, youngest son goes back and is welcomed back by the dad. The moment is electric. It is a Hallmark channel movie on steroids.
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Now if Jesus had stopped at this point most of those listening would have been happy. But, this isn’t the end. Remember, there were 2 brothers. The older bro has been out sweating and doing what needed to be done to keep the family business going. Imagine, you’re tired, sweat stained and smell like a garbage dump. You roll up on your house and something’s going on.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in.
I understand his reaction. “Why would dad let his no good, scum bag boy back into the house. And throw him a party too? I raised those cows that were slaughtered. Dad must be blind and not remember what that man did to us when he demanded his inheritance early. The stress it put on me. Nope. Not going in. I’m staying right here to show my dad how mad I am and how I’ll never be like my deadbeat brother.”
So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Dad was having none of it. I mean, this dad loved his boys, both of them, with all his heart, mind, body and strength. No one was going to stop him from showing his love. Not even those he loves.
The prodigal sons return. Yes, you read that right. Its not a typo. The young son and the older son are both prodigals. Think about the audience Jesus is talking to. Gentiles rebelling against God’s desires in plain view (outwardly) and religious leaders rebelling secretly (inwardly). Jesus’ warning is for both prodigals. The rebels everyone sees and the ones hiding behind closed doors, or phone, tablet and computer screens. We are prodigals. We have wasted God’s efforts with our rebellion and we have been reckless with His Love and His Word.
We are prodigals. But, the Father has come to you and me today. He asks why we haven’t come inside the house to rest, get cleaned up and fed. He knows our history, but knows we can be so much more, so much better than we have been to this point. Excuses, we have millions. Answers, there is one (Jesus). Turn the doorknob, come on in, home is waiting. The Father is ready for you.
See you Sunday!!