Summary: Sermon fro the 4th Sunday in Lent, Year C, 2013

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Luke 15: 11 – 32 / A Bad Boy Comes Home

Intro: Ladies, true or false. When driving a car, a man will never admit that they are lost by stopping to get directions. --- Certainly a man invented the GPS system for a car for just that reason. Tell the truth, have you ever really been lost?

I. Once there were 2 flies sitting in a kitchen. They looked down at the table and spotted a knife. On the handle of the knife was a tiny piece of baloney. The 2 flies excitedly flew down, landed on the knife handle, and ate the baloney. When they finished, they both flew off the knife handle and smashed into each other. The moral of the story is this: Don’t fly off the handle when you are full of baloney. (Lost Found Restored by Vernon Murray,

A. I can identify with the younger son. Perhaps you can also. Haven’t you ever just wanted to run away, leave everything, everyone and all your past behind you and have a fresh start?

B. When the younger son detaches himself from his family, he gets lost. He loses his sensibility and forgets who he is and to whom he belongs.

C. When we fly off the handle for whatever reason, we break our connection with Jesus. When that happens, we forget to whom we belong and we get lost.

II. This parable follows 2 additional parables that address the theme of being lost. This one is known by at least 2 titles: The parable of the prodigal son or the parable of lost son.

A. Do you know what the word prodigal means? Wasteful, extravagant, or abundant. So the word means to use excessively. However, that word does not appear in the text.

B. Jesus begins the story with VS. 11 – “There was a man who had 2 sons.

C. The introduction to the parable identifies the siblings as “sons” not as “brothers” --- The focus is therefore on the relationship to the Father.

III. What we see in this story is the way in which God relates to us, God’s children.

A. VS. 21 contains:

1) an address – “Father”

2) a confession – “I have sinned”

3) contrition – “I am no longer worthy”

4) a petition – “Treat me like one of your hired hands”

B. The Father’s reaction is one that shows eager forgiveness of a truly penitent sinner.

C. VS. 31shows the Father’s patience with the son who feels slighted.

Conclu: VS. 32 “This brother of yours” – the effect is to restore all of the family relationships. If repentance for the prodigal son means learning to say “Father” again, then for the elder son, it means learning to say “brother” again. When a bad boy comes home, all is forgiven by the Father. Are there those for whom we harbor bad feelings because we feel they have wronged us? Following the example of the Father, we must learn to call them “brother” or “sister” again.

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