Today we will be looking at another parable on God’s love. This is a popular parable which can be found in Luke 15:11-32. It is also referred to as the parable of the prodigal son.
Here is a quick summary of the parable. A man had two sons. One day, the younger son asked for his portion of his father’s inheritance to be given to him. His father did and the boy travelled to a far country where he squandered the money. Just like everything else else, whatever is spent and not replaced, runs out. Left with no other option, he picked up a job to look after swines so he could eat off their food (yuck!). Soon he realised that he had hit rock bottom. He came back to his senses and decided to go back home; planned to tell his dad to make him his servant because he was no longer worthy to be called his son.
His dad saw him down the road, ran to him and made a huge feast to welcome him home. He didn’t make his son a servant because he loved him. His older brother wasn’t quite happy with the party because he felt his dad has never done one for him despite him being a good boy. Expressing his concern to his dad, he was told that everything is his and he can do any party he wants to do whenever he wants one.
Traditionally, the younger son’s inheritance would have been one third of his dad’s wealth while two-third geos to the oldest. The division of inheritance is initiated by the father. In this story, the youngest initiating the division of inheritance showed arrogant disregard for his father. Once he got what he wanted, he left his father’s presence and went away. Some believers seek God’s presence for what they can get. As soon as that is achieved, they leave until further notice. Some are in church until they get what they want. As seen in this story, the problem starts immediately we leave the presence of The Father.
The son squandered all he had in the lifestyle he chose and lost everything. We live a wasteful life outside the presence of Christ.
The son ate with pigs. Considering he was a Jew, this was the lowest of the low for him. It was a great humiliation because the Jews saw pigs as unclean animals and wouldn’t touch it let alone eat it. Rebellion comes with consequences. When we rebel against the ordinance of Christ, we must be ready to bear the cost.
Like the son, it sometimes takes for some people to hit rock bottom to come to their senses. Thank God for grace. Many of us might be able to relate to this story in some way. We might not have done exactly what the prodigal son did. But we have rebelled in some way against Christ.
The prodigal son decided to return home when he remembered what life was like at home. As his father saw him, he ran towards him, welcomed him home and gave him a welcome party. When we decide to repent of our sins and turn away from our evil ways, God is always willing to receive us back home. He sees us making the decision and He runs towards us to welcome us. A party is held in heaven to celebrate our return. Yes, it is a big deal to Him!
The older brother struggled to accept his younger brother when he returned home. I don’t think he had a problem with his brother coming back home. I think what he struggled with was his father’s reaction. He didn’t see the reason to throw a party for a wasteful child. Makes sense right? What he didn’t know was the fact the father delighted more in the child coming home than anything else. All that mattered was that the child was home. A fresh page was opened for him. Mercy! Yes, mercy! That is what it is. God’s mercy is what makes Him not treat us the way our sin deserves. He doesn’t remind us of our past wrongs because He puts “our iniquities into the depths of the sea”. (Micah 7:19)
People who repent after leading notoriously sinful lives are often held in suspicion. Most times our initial reaction isn’t “praise God they are saved”. It is more of “let’s do research to find the next tabloid about that person as a prove that he/she isn’t saved”. We have become detectives who are going about proving who is saved and who isn’t. Heaven is rejoicing about sinners repenting whilst we are here trying to prove their repentance suspicious. We gladly embrace the title of church FBIs and are doing a damaging job by pushing people away instead of letting them in. If heaven is rejoicing, so should we also. We don’t know better than God.
In conclusion, the father forgave because he was full of love. God is love and He is always ready to receive and welcome us home. If you are currently away from home, come home. A huge welcome party awaits you.
If you would like to read previous parables, please click here.