Saturday, 26 March 2022

The Parable Of The Prodigal Son (Part One)

The Parable Of The Prodigal Son (Part One)

The Younger Son

(A Teaching On Man's Need For Repentance And God's Forgiveness)

Luke 15:11-32

“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.  And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;  for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.  So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.  So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.  But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

Oh what a gripping parable! A tale quite like no other;
A picture of mankind within this young and older brother.
One a reckless prodigal who lived a wayward life,
The other one obedient, keeping free from strife.

Although it grieved the father and went against his views,
He didn’t breech free-will or the ability to choose.
He knew his son’s rebellion would bring his spirit pain,
For though this road began with fun, it ended up in shame.

Distance from the father was what the youngest sought,
But soon he learned that heartache was all this lifestyle brought.
He realised his folly and recognised his sin.
Returning to the father, he set off home to him.

His speech showed true repentance, a heart filled with remorse,
Bringing no excuses why he chose his foolish course.
He knew the only remedy was turning from his ways
And found within his father’s arms, he’d love him all his days.

A love that waited patiently, this love did not forget;
A picture of our Father with the one who feels regret.
Oh may we know God’s love awaits to cover us with grace,
Run into His loving arms and feel His warm embrace!

Proverbs 29:3
“Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice,
But a companion of harlots wastes his wealth.”

1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Points For Reflection And Insight
Here we have the third in the trio of parables found in Luke 15. One instantly notable difference in the parable of the prodigal son is the youngest son’s awareness of his need for repentance and returning to his father.
Neither the lost sheep nor the lost coin from the earlier parables showed any desire or ability to repent. In this third parable however, Jesus brings a focus onto the importance of a humble heart and a contrite spirit before God in order to come into a true relationship with Him.

It’s one thing to be sorry for our sin, it’s quite another to be repentant of it. Many people can be sorry for their choices but show no desire to turn their ways around and live a different life. Many people can regret what they’ve done but still continue to live in the same manner.

Not so with repentance. Repentance is total remorse for one’s wrongdoing. Repentance is acknowledging your error and being willing to make a change to both your mindset and ways. A repentant heart will seek to turn away from sin and rectify the wrong course taken. A repentant heart will desire to put things right and no longer continue on it’s destructive path.

This is something Jesus really draws attention to in the parable of prodigal son. Furthermore, He highlights how we don’t need to have “gotten our act together “ before we can approach Him. The younger son in this story shows us that no matter how low a person has fallen or what worldly state they’re in, if they truly want to come back to the Father, then they will always be welcomed home with open arms.

This story encourages us to “come as we are,” warts and all but also shows us that by God’s grace we won’t stay as we are. A truly repentant soul won’t remain in it’s sinful ways but be transformed by forgiveness and restoration. A truly repentant soul will be changed forever by the Father’s love!

Have you been wanting to put things right with God but feel you’re not worthy to come before Him? Have you been fearful He’ll reject you based on what you’ve done? Please know, God loves you and sees your heart of repentance! Don’t let anything stop you from coming to Jesus today and putting things right with Him. Every lost sinner who returns home is cause for celebration and He’s been waiting for you to return!

Maybe as a believer you can relate to the younger son and feel you’ve allowed the priorities of the world to get in the way of your relationship with your Father. If this is the case, it’s time to come home. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve strayed or how you may have squandered the gifts He gave you. God is always delighted when a wayward child returns to Him. Start your journey back to God today and rekindle the close relationship you once enjoyed with Jesus.

Perhaps your walk with Jesus is stronger than ever and that’s truly something to rejoice over! Maybe you know someone however, who needs some encouragement to return to God. Pray that the Father would give you the wisdom for the right words to say in love and gentleness to speak to this precious soul. By God’s grace it was His love and gentleness that called us to turn from a life of rebellion.

May we as believers, remember where we’ve come from and extend that open invitation from the Father to others who need Him today.