Summary: Characteristics maturing believers struggle with: 1. We can be Unconcerned 2. We can feel Entitled 3. We can be Unresponsive
January 29 Ignoring The One Luke 15:11-32
Characteristics maturing believers struggle with:
1. We can be Unconcerned
2. We can feel Entitled
3. We can be Unresponsive
When I was a child, I don’t know 6-7 yrs old, I went for a walk to discover what was on the other side of the grade school I attended. It was about 4 blocks to my school and when I was on the playground I always noticed that there were some woods beyond that. So one day I just decided to go on a hike to discover what was in and beyond those woods. I must have been gone a long time that day because my mom was frantic. She got all the neighbors and kids to go looking for me. When it began to get late in the afternoon, I started walking home and was confronted with some people who had been looking for me all afternoon. When my mom saw me about a block away, she ran to me, hugged me, and then whipped my behind all the way home.
That story ended on a good note. But every year, about 2 million children are lost to their parents. Some run away. Some are kidnapped. Some are kidnapped and put in to sex trafficking. I can’t imagine the panic, despair, and grief that a parent experiences when they have lost their child. Can you imagine? What would you do if one of your children got lost, not for a few minutes in the mall, not for an hour, but what could be forever? What would YOU do?
Turn with me to Luke 15:11-32. Today we finish this brief but powerful series taken from Luke 15. Luke 15 starts out with the scribes and Pharisees being upset with Jesus because He was eating with and socializing with tax collectors and sinners. Tax collectors were universally hated by their fellow Jews because they collected taxes for the hated Roman invaders and even worse, extorted extra money to line their pockets. Sinners included a broad category of thieves, prostitutes, and generally irreligious folks. The religious folk didn’t have anything to do with the irreligious folk. And when Jesus spent time with the irreligious and enjoyed their company, the religious folk began to grumble.
Knowing the hardness of their hearts, Jesus launched into 3 of the most well known parables He ever taught. Remember that a parable comes from two Greek word: para meaning alongside and ballo, meaning to throw or throw down. So a parable is a story thrown down alongside a truth to illustrate it.
The 1st parable was about a shepherd who lost one of his sheep. He risked the 99 to go after The One. The 2nd parable was about a woman who had lost a coin. She turned her house upside down searching for The One. Now this 3rd parable takes on a more personal dimension: it is about a father whose son had chosen a path that separated himself from his father, and a father whose heart ached because of the separation and celebrated when the son finally did come home.
Let’s read this well-known passage. Luke 15:11-24 (on screen w/comments).
v.12 “give me the share of the estate I have coming to me” Normally the heirs would not get anything until the father was incapacitated or dead. To ask for a share of the estate ahead of time was incredibly insensitive and disrespectful. It even showed contempt for the father: “Give me my share as if you were dead.”
“distributed the assets to them” The father then had to divest himself of the estate entirely, living off of the good will of the older son. The father took the form of a servant, then, on behalf of the son who was to wander far away.
v.13 “squandered his estate in foolish living.” By using this phrase, Jesus is establishing the association between the younger son in His story with the tax collectors and sinners. They were separated from the father and living foolishly and sinfully.
v. 14 “he had nothing” Nothing to clothe himself with. Nothing to shelter himself with. Nothing to eat. And, don’t miss this: nothing to offer to the father later in the story; he would come empty handed, asking for mercy.
v.15 “to feed the pigs” Jesus could have chosen any form of activity to illustrate this son’s poverty: could have had him begging; could have had him stealing. Could have had him feeding sheep or goats or cattle or cats. No, not cats. But what does Jesus have him feeding? Pigs. Considered by Jews to this day as being unclean and unholy to eat.
v.17 “When he came to his senses.” There are a few phrases in this parable that stand out to me, and this is one of them. The younger son finally came to the point where he saw the error of his ways and the foolishness of his life and longed for something better.