Luke 15 hosts one of the worlds most popular parables in society. Most people whether followers of Jesus or not have heard of the Prodigal Son.
I want to lay the groundwork and give the context preparing for the next few weeks. The goal of the next few blogs is to renew our concept of our Heavenly Father and to reshape our concept of sin and church. It is so crucial that this truth sinks in our hearts because one of our core values is grace. We strive to be a church where people of all walks of life encounter God’s grace through us.
Prodigal actually has two different meanings...
1. Exceedingly or recklessly wasteful
2. Extremely generous, lavish
The younger brother was prodigal (reckless/wasteful) in his living and the Father was “prodigal” (lavish) in his loving.
CONTEXT OF THIS PARABLE
A)The context of the entire Bible
*God lost something and He wants it back
*Genesis 3:8-9—Where are you
*The Prodigal story is a miniature of the entire Bible story
B)The personal context of Jesus’ life
Luke 19:10—For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost
*Luke 15:1-2—Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.
D)The Context in the entire chapter
*Story of the lost Sheep—(Lost, search, found, party)
*Story of the lost coin—(Lost, search, found, party)
*Prodigal God story—(Lost, no search, Found, party pooper)
God sets up this last parable by showing how important it is for what’s lost to be found. When it’s found there is major rejoicing and celebration. Yet, this last parable is the odd triplet. This last parable is…
Actually a rebuke to the religious, self-righteous leaders. There were many sinners and tax collectors gathering around Jesus. Instead of celebrating and rejoicing they were indignant and angry just like the older brother.
We see that this parable is actually more about the older brother and Father than it is about the younger brother. Jesus is revealing to the crowds that there are two ways to get lost, not just one, and the 2nd way may be worst than the first.
The tax collectors and sinners are the non-religious crowd which is depicted by the younger brother. The Pharisees and scribes are the religious crowd depicted by the older brother in the parable.
*Both were lost and far from the Father’s heart. They both wanted the Father’s things but not the Father. The younger wanted his inheritance (which he shouldn’t of got until his father’s death). The older brother was in his fathers house, performed all of the duties but never had his fathers heart. (close to the house not the heart)
In this parable Jesus is also revolutionizing our understanding of sin. Sin is a condition of the heart before it is an action of life. Sin is not only breaking God’s commands but wanting to be and acting like God. The older brother was blind to his own wicked heart and motives. He was as sinful as the younger brother and tried to tell the Father it wasn't fair.
A pit deeper than the pig pen of waywardness is the pit of self-righteousness and the stench of spiritual pride. (John 9:13-41—Jesus healed blind man on the Sabbath)
How many times have we seen someone at work or on the street or in our family and we have looked down at them disgusted thinking, “I can’t believe them. I’m glad I’m not like them?” How many times have we criticized and condemned those who aren’t following Christ? How many times have we told God it's not fair, how could you...
Question: Who are “the lost sinners”
Answer: We are ALL the lost sinners (Romans 3:23)
Question: How are we saved/forgiven?
Answer: We are ALL forgiven by the mercy, the love and grace of our Prodigal God
Question: How should I view others?
Answer: Just like I see myself—desperately in need of God’s prodigal love
Question: How do I relate to others?
Answer: Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy
This parable should actually be called the Prodigal God or Prodigal brothers. Do you currently relate to one of the brothers. Regardless, you can be renewed, forgiven and restored right now by returning to the heart of the Father just like the youngest boy did.
Click on link below to see Chris Tomlin's song "love." Great ending to this blog