Summary: Two attitudes displayed in two sons, that kept each of them from receiving the joy God intended for them.
In 1884 a young man died, and after the funeral his grieving parents decided to establish a memorial to him. With that in mind they met with Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University. Eliot received the unpretentious couple into his office and asked what he could do. After they expressed their desire to fund a memorial, Eliot impatiently said, "Perhaps you have in mind a scholarship."
"We were thinking of something more substantial than that...perhaps a building," the woman replied. In a patronizing tone, Eliot brushed the idea aside as being too expensive. After all, this was HARVARD UNIVERSITY! The couple departed. The next year, Eliot learned that this plain pair had gone elsewhere and established a $26 million memorial named Leland Stanford Junior College, better known today as Stanford University!
A remarkable display of both pride and prejudice that illustrates one man’s loss of joy
1. As Christians we often forfeit the joy God intends us to have
A. Two things that contribute to this are PRIDE and PREJUDICE
01. We are either caught up in ME or hung up on THEM
02. Either way, we sacrifice the experience of true joy that will carry us into a deeper relationship with God
03. Our meditation this evening deals with two individuals who exemplify these traits
(a) One could not find joy until he swallowed his PRIDE, leaving behind a life he was sure he wanted for himself
(b) The other gave away his joy because of his PREJUDICE toward another
B. Jesus was a wonderful storyteller. He revealed timeless truths in the simplest of stories (parables), allowing the listener to reach his own conclusion.
01. Tonight will reflect on one of these parables – perhaps one of the most familiar; the story of the prodigal son (turn to Luke 15)
(a) It is particularly interesting to note that the one common denominator in all of these parables is the presence of the disciples
(b) This is also true of the miracles Jesus performed; the disciples were always there to witness the extraordinary events and stories that Jesus would share
(1) Why was this?
(2) It’s possible that the miracles and parables were as much for the benefit of the disciples than others around them
(3) Perhaps Jesus knew that because of their intimate relationship with Him, they might come to pass judgement on those outside the “circle”.
(4) NT society didn’t need more self-serving hypocrites; it needed humble servants to spread the joy of God’s love and salvation to needy people
(5) By calling the simple men He did, he assured that His message would be spread properly, without regard to social or religious status, and without the influence of PRIDE OR PREJUDICE
(i) After all, who were these guys? (unimpressive resumes)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Luke 15:11-32)
A. Part One: A Son’s PRIDE keeps joy just out of reach (vv. 11-20a)
01. Pride that caused younger son to want to “go his way”
(a) Caught up in ME; not interested in what is best for others
(b) Gimme gimme gimmie! Let me go do my own thing
02. Often what keeps folks from coming to Jesus is PRIDE
(a) What must I give up? What will others think of me? Will I lose my “Status”
03. Young son runs into trouble, out of money, and takes a job feeding pigs
(a) It’s been said that when a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with the experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with the experience. That may be what happened to this young man.
(b) Here’s a great verse (17): “when he had come to himself” (KJV) OR “when he had come to his senses” (NIV) he decided to go home to his father; expecting to be the least of the least in his father’s house
(c) Just like us…when we are out of options, we come home
B. Part Two – A SON RESTORED (vv. 20b-24)
01. The father rejoiced in the return of His son
02. Listeners immediately see the connection between repentance and forgiveness, that which lead them into the kingdom of GOD
03. There was only ONE WAY BACK INTO THE HOUSE – THROUGH THE FATHER!
04. The father was gracious, accepting the son and treating him like royalty; rejoicing that he had come home!
05. Then we meet the other brother…
C. PREJUDICE tears the joy down (vv. 25-32)
(a) I’VE EARNED IT, I’M WORTH IT and I’M JEALOUS
02. These attitudes of the older son restricted his JOY
(a) Forgets about the mercy afforded him by his father
A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. "But I don’t ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy." "But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied. "Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."