3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: Jesus in the Parable of the Prodigal Son reveals the true nature of the father

Parable 11 - Parable of the Prodigal Son

Visit to Pasadena

• The year was 1973

• I had been accepted to college in England

• Decided to visit Bob in California on the way to England

• For 10 years I had been reading in a particular prophetic magazine about the imminent fall of the US

• The country was corrupt, crime was rampant, the threat of nuclear war hung over the nation, it’s farmlands were about to be overrun by locusts, it was about to be engulfed in racial wars – in short, it was under God’s curse

• Arrived in LA, got off the bus at the Pasadena Hilton about seven or eight blocks from the campus

• Bob was supposed to meet me, but he was a no-show

• Asked where the college was and started heading off loaded down with all my earthly goods and chattels in one of the old family suitcases, didn’t have wheels in those days

• Any moment I expected to be mugged even though it was about 2:00pm in the afternoon

• I heard what sounded like a gun shot and this only confirmed what I had read in the PT. I picked up the pace

• Fortunately I was saved as Bob showed up coming the other direction

• Later I spent 10 years living in the US and learnt to love the country and its people, even married one of them

• I also learnt that the impression I had been led to believe about the US were completely out of sync with reality

• The true reality was, its easy to be hoodwinked into believing a lie

Today we are going to look at another of Jesus’ parables – The Parable of the Prodigal Son

• And the question this parable poses to us is, “What is your impression of God the Father?”

• The Israelites had an impression of the Father – “Moses, you speak to Him, He too scary for us!”

• The Pharisees had there impression of God, they wanted Him to crush the occupying Romans – riding into Jerusalem on a white steed rather than a humble donkey

• The disciples too had their concept of the Father, “Should we call fire down from heaven and take care of this disrespectful Samaritan rabble”

• Even the theology that developed over the centuries after Jesus came to reveal the Father cast the Father in non flattering terms

• Augustine – forensic or legal concept of God - it was like a good cop, bad cop routine – Jesus was the good cop, the Father, the bad cop

• Thomas Aquinas – Enlightnment – get to know God through reason

• All of these approaches had one major flaw – each of them started with from the perspective of man

• and by so doing we created a God in OUR image

• It is only recently that theologians like Karl Barth have gone back to Jesus’ statement, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”

• There is no “good cop, bad cop” routine, Jesus and the Father are One

• Jesus’ main point in telling this parable was to correct the Jews impression of the true nature of the Father

In reality this Parable tells us more about the Father than it does the son

• A better name for the parable would be, “The Parable of the Prodigal’s Loving Father”

• Part of Jesus’ mission was to correct the misconceptions of the true nature of God the Father

Couple of comments about this parable.

First, It is a microcosm of the greater story of the relationship between God and mankind

• The Father had created the perfect environment in Eden for mankind to relate to Him in love and communion, yet we rejected His overtures and His love

 Yet this God we rejected welcomes us back with open arms

Second, this is just one of Jesus’ several parables of Grace that drives religious people crazy as it demonstrates just how unfair grace is

• The grace of God is indiscriminate and that’s what makes it so unfair as it is dispensed to both the good and the bad

• It drives religionists and those who have a “works” mentality crazy

• The reality is there is no good and bad, we are all bad and in need of God’s grace

Here is the preamble to the Story

Luke 15:1-32 (NLT)

• Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people—even eating with them!

• What was it that drove the religious people crazy? His preoccupation with the lost and sinners

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