Summary: This message was prepared for National Back to Church Sunday
National Back to Church Sunday
September 18, 2011
A Sunday School teacher was giving a lesson on the story of the Prodigal Son. The class discussed how the young son had taken his inheritance and left home, living it up until he had nothing left. Finally, when he couldn’t even eat as well as pigs, he went home to his father, who welcomed him. When we finished the story, the teacher asked the class what they had learned. After thinking a moment, one girl said, "Never leave home without your credit card!"
11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ' 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:11-24
Luke chapter 15 Background
When Jesus shares this parable, He does so in the context of a major issue. The religious leadership of the day openly criticizes the people Jesus is spending His time with. Jesus invested His time in people that the religious thought were unimportant. Jesus places His time with those who needed Him the most, those who were away from God.
The message of Jesus is clear that every person matters to God. You matter to God regardless of what you have done. People matter to God and they matter to the church. The church should be about people more than anything else because people are the church. When we lose sight of this, we lose who we are as a church.
The story here that Jesus tells puts a little different slant on the subject of the missing. Notice from verse 11 who the story is really about: There was a man who had two sons. The story is not about the sons but in reality is about the father.
Four points on a downward spiral
The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
Before anything else can take place, the son rejects the father. Notice what the son says to the father: give me my share of the estate. We read this and think it was a selfish thing to ask but nothing really over the top. The son is essentially saying that he wished his father was dead. I wish you were dead, give me my share!
The root of all rebellion starts with a rejection. Every relationship that has ended, begins with some form of rejection. The lack of respect for authority begins with rejection. All crime starts with a rejection of what is right. Rejection is at the heart of rebellion.
Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
The son packs his bags and sets off for a distant place. Not only did he reject the father, now he was putting distance between them. The prodigal son was the life of the party, he was the party. He had big money and he was blowing it fast on the wildest of everything. The son was spending everything that he had on things that don’t last.