Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32
Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So the father divided his property between them.

A few days later, the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country. There he wasted his possessions on wild living. After he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need.

So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “Then he came to his senses and said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more food than they can eat, and here I am starving to death!

I will get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and you. I don’t deserve to be called your son anymore. Treat me like one of your hired men.”‘ “So he got up and went to his father.

While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him affectionately.

Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and you. I don’t deserve to be called your son anymore.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let’s eat and celebrate! For my son was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

“Now his older son was in the field. As he was coming back to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called to one of the servants and asked what was happening. The servant told him, ‘Your brother has come home, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he got him back safely.’

“Then the older son became angry and wouldn’t go into the house. So his father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, “Listen! All these years I’ve worked like a slave for you. I’ve never disobeyed a command of yours. Yet you’ve never given me so much as a young goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. But this son of yours spent your money on prostitutes, and when he came back, you killed the fattened calf for him!’

“His father said to him, ‘My child, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and has been found.'”

Earthy Word = Spiritual Word
father = God
prodigal son = child of God
older brother = Pharisee
servants = angels
Possible Points of Jesus
    1. HIS DEPARTURE FROM HOME – Lk 15:11-13a
      1. The younger son asks his father to give him his portion of the inheritance due him
        1. According to the Law of Moses, the eldest son received a double portion – cf. Deut 21:17
        2. Since there were two sons, the younger son would receive one-third
      2. Like so many impatient young people today, the younger son…
        1. Desired to be free from parental restraints
        2. Desired to have his father’s inheritance “now”
      3. The father grants him his request, and the younger son soon takes all that he has to a distant country
    2. HIS LIFE ABROAD – Lk 15:13b-19
      1. With “prodigal” (wasteful, extravagant) living, he soon depletes his possessions
      2. His poverty is complicated by a famine striking the country
      3. In desperation, he hires himself to another to feed his pigs
        1. This would be most degrading to a Jew, for pigs were considered unclean – cf. Lev 11:7
        2. According to Hendriksen, there was a saying current among the Jews at that time: “May a curse come upon the man who cares for swine!”
        3. With great hunger, he would have gladly eaten what was given to the pigs
      4. He finally comes to his senses…
        1. Recalling how well fed were his father’s hired servants
        2. They had plenty, and here he was, perishing with hunger!
          — So to hunger and humiliation, there is now added homesickness
      5. He resolves to return home…
        1. To confess his sin against heaven (i.e., God’s will) and his father
        2. To confess his unworthiness to be called his father’s son
        3. To be made only like one of his father’s hired servants
    3. HIS RETURN HOME – Lk 15:20-32
      1. Warmly welcomed by his father – Lk 15:20-24
        1. Carrying out his resolution, the prodigal son returns home
        2. While still a great way away, the father sees him (had he been looking for his son?)
        3. The father’s great love is immediately evident…
          1. He has compassion
          2. He runs to greet his son
          3. He throws his arms around his son’s neck
          4. He kisses him
        4. The son quickly confesses his sin, and his unworthiness to be called a son
        5. But before he can even say “Make me one of your hired servants”, the father joyfully calls upon his servants to…
          1. Bring out the best robe and put it on him
          2. Put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet
          3. Kill the fatted calf in order to celebrate his return
            — All of which serve to reinstate the son as a person of importance and authority
        6. What this means to the father is touchingly summarized in these words…
          1. “for this my son was dead and is alive again”
          2. “he was lost and is found”
            — Certainly any parent can relate to the emotions expressed by this father!
      2. Jealously rejected by his brother – Lk 15:25-32
        1. The elder son, returning from the field, wonders what the celebration is about
        2. When told by one of the servants, he angrily refuses to go in
        3. The father comes out, and pleads with him…
          1. The elder son’s complaints:
            1. For many years he had served his father
            2. He had never transgressed his father’s will
            3. The father had never provided such a celebration for him
            4. But when the son who squandered his father’s inheritance with harlots returns home, the fatted calf is killed for him!
              — Isn’t it easy to sympathize with the elder son?
          2. The father’s response:
            1. Note first how tenderly the father treats THIS son (addressing him as “child” in the Greek)
            2. He recognizes the elder son’s faithfulness (“you are always with me”)
            3. He reassures the son that the remaining inheritance is his (“all that I have is yours”)
            4. Yet the father maintains that it is right to celebrate…
              1. “your brother…” (note the contrast)
                1. The elder son had called his brother, “this son of yours”
                2. The father emphasizes the brotherly relation, “your brother”
              2. “…was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” (repeating what was said to the servants in Lk 15:24)
      1. The father symbolizes our heavenly Father
      2. The prodigal son in coming home represents the penitent sinner
      3. The elder brother reflected the attitude of the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes – cf. Lk 15:2
      1. Our heavenly Father loves His children
        1. Even when they turn away from Him, His hearts yearns for them in love
        2. But especially when they return with a penitent attitude
          1. There is “joy in heaven” – Lk 15:7
          2. There is “joy in the presence of the angels of God” – Lk 15:10
          3. It was right to “make merry and be glad” – Lk 15:32
      2. The faithful children of God need to understand the proper way to receive the erring child who returns to God
        1. Not with any sibling jealousy, but with joyous celebration! – Lk 15:32
        2. With a strong reaffirmation of love:
          1. As illustrated by the father in the parable
          2. As Paul instructed the Corinthians in 2Co 2:6-8
    1. “The Prodigal Son”, along with the two previous parables, was told by Jesus to teach these important lessons to the Pharisees and scribes
    2. Yet while directed toward them, imagine how these parables comforted the hearts of those “tax collectors and sinners” who had drawn near to Jesus to hear Him! – Lk 15:1
      1. Though considered unacceptable by the religious elite, they learned that they could be accepted by God!
      2. That God was seeking for them, and would lovingly receive them if they would repent!
        — Is this the same message we convey to those lost in sin, but who are willing to draw near and listen to the gospel?
    3. We must never forget that it was Jesus who said:
      “Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Lk 5:31-32)

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