Monday, June 17, 2013

The Parable of the Lost Son

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 15:1 - 32
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Luke 15:1 - 32
The Pharisees were angry that Jesus was associating himself with notorious sinners.  Jesus responded with a series of parables about finding the lost.  In the first parable, Jesus talked about a shepherd who left all 99 sheep in search of the 1 that was lost, and the shepherd rejoiced when the 1 was found.  In another parable, a woman looked all over house in search of 1 coin that missing, and rejoiced when the coin was found.

The most powerful parable, however, was the Parable of the Lost Son.  Jesus talks of a man who begged his father for his inheritance and went off to squander it and live in sin.  Meanwhile the man had a faithful son who stayed by his side.  The wayward son spent all his money and came close to starving to death.  That is when the son decided to go back to his father, and beg to be a servant in his house so that he might have enough to eat.  When the son returned, humbled, the father rejoiced and embraced him as his son once again.  The other son was angry, for he had been faithful the entire time, but the father responded that they need to rejoice - for his son was lost and dead, and now he is found and alive.

Here are the things that I take away as key points in this parable:

  1. The son returned completely humbled.  He confessed his sins to his father, repented of his behavior, and asked only to be a servant again. (Luke 15:18 - 15:19)
  2. The father was watching for this man's coming from far off -- though he was lost, the father was always watching, always waiting for his son's return.  (15:20)
  3. The father rejoiced immediately when he saw his son coming.  The son's sins had been forgiven and the father was just relived that his son had come back. (15:22 - 24)
  4. The son was dead, but now he had returned to life.  He was lost, but then he was found.  (Without Jesus, without the Lord, we are all lost, we are all dead, our life is only temporary).  (15:24)
  5. The other son was angry -- this is an emotion to be expected.  After all, he had been faithful the entire time.  But the father responded with the words "Everything I have is yours".  So even though the faithful might not be celebrated, they still share in everything the father has (15:31).
 This parable is so powerful, for both the lost and for the faithful.  When we are lost, when we are afraid that the Lord could never take us back, we must remember that the Lord is ALWAYS watching for our return, and when we return He will rejoice.  For those who are faithful already - everything the Lord has is already yours to share with him.  Rejoice in that.