Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Parable of the Lost Son

In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a story to the Pharisees and scribes.

There once was a man who had two sons. One day, the younger son came up to his father and said, "Dad, I wish you were dead. Give me my money now."
Now, his father had every right to kill his son right there, or at the least, disown him and not give him his inheritance. But the father didn't do that. No, instead, he went through all the trouble of selling one-third of everything he owned-his property, his cattle, his grain. People at the market thought the guy was insane! "Why would you do this for your rebellious son?" They might have asked.
You would think the son would be happy with shaming his father and getting his inheritance. But no, when his father handed over the money, he went off to a foreign country and spent his money on "reckless living." He blew his inheritance on the ultimate party life.
One day, the boy came to his senses. He was sitting in the middle of a mud pool, surrounded by pigs, handing out slop to the stinky beasts. "What in the world am I doing here?" He exclaimed. "The servants in my father's house eat better than this!" He made a decision. "I'm going home," he declared resolutely. "I know that I shamed my father and am not worthy to be called his son anymore, but maybe he will accept me as a servant."
The boy traveled home, the whole time rehearsing exactly what he would say. "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."
In the meantime, back at home, the Father had been watching and waiting anxiously for his son. One morning, he looked out the window and saw someone coming towards the house from a long way off. The father squinted into the morning light, and then shouted with excitement. "My son is home!" He yelled, then lifted up his tunic and ran.
Now, you have to understand that in this time, old men didn't run. But he was so filled with love for his son, that he didn't care if he shamed himself.
When he met the kid down the road, he embraced him and kissed him. Mind you, the kid was still completely worthy of being killed. But his father had compassion on him and forgave him.
The son was stunned for a moment, but quickly regained his composure. "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you," he began as rehearsed.
But his father quickly interrupted him and called for a robe, a ring, shoes, and a fattened calf. "My son is home! Let's celebrate!" he said. You see, the father loved his son so much that he was willing to welcome him back into the family.
Everything seems wonderful, like a nice happily-ever-after ending. But the story isn't really over. Remember, the man had two sons.
Enter older son. The older son was supposed to take care of his younger brother. He should have been the one going out to find his brother, track him down, welcome him back. But instead, he was out hard at work in the fields. He returned to the house after a day's hard work and heard music and dancing. He said to a servant, "Hey, what's going on?"
The servant replied, "Isn't it exciting? Your brother has returned and your dad is throwing a party."
The older son exploded with anger. "He what?" He yelled. "That scum is back?" He refused to go another step towards the house.
His father came out and implored him to come inside and join the party. But the older son said, "Look, I have been here, faithfully working for you while this SON OF YOURS went out and wasted your money. But you never gave me a goat or calf to celebrate with. But when HE comes back, you kill the fattened calf. What's up with that?"
The father looked at his older son and said, "Son, you are always with me. What is mine is yours. But it was right, it was fitting to celebrate when your brother came home, because he was dead, but is now alive. He was lost, but now he is found."
The father still loved both of his sons even though they were both rebellious in different ways. In the same way, God still loves all of us, even though we all disobey and are rebellious. When we decide to return home, he forgives us and welcomes us back into his family.

Prodigal: Lavish, Extravagant.

God our Father loves us with a prodigal love.


  1. Excellent retelling, Storm. Ever think of writing Bible commentaries?

    1. No, not really my thing. Besides, I have to thank the speaker at Winter Camp for most of the details. :)