Summary: A narrative exploration of the Prodigal Son and his brother, with different versions of what might have happened the next day. it explores how prodigals returned to fellowship in the ministry of Jesus and find hope for big brothers in Saul of Tarsus.

The Two sons: The sequel

Luke 15:11-32/ and 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.

Who watches the Oscars? Me neither but,

today I thought I would take some direction from Hollywood! Directors it seems love to produce a sequel. Sometimes it seems when new ideas are drying up they even resort to making prequels! Well you may be relieved to hear I’m not going to give you a prequel today. But I thought I might give you my sequel to a parable that you all know very well. The prodigal son! It’s a very familiar story told by our Lord

the master story-teller! But now for my sequel!

Jesus’ parable is called the two sons in this contemporary version. I’ll call mine The Two Sons: The Sequel.

Jesus’ original story ended with the father throwing an amazing party! The rebellious son has returned from wasting his inheritance on whores and wild living. Remember he ran out of funds, then there was a famine and he found himself living in a pig sty.

Worse still, he’ not only feeding the pigs but he’s reduced to wanting to eat pig food, slops and scraps.

Yuk! His story had been a terrible fall for the son of a wealthy farmer, but then he had come to his senses and gone home to offer himself as a hired hand to his dad. He knew he didn’t deserve any Father son relationship with his dad. After all he’s treated his father so badly even forced him to break up the farm.

He didn’t deserve anything at all. But perhaps his dad might let him work as a servant on the family farm.

Jesus’ story tells us of the amazing loving father who overturns all of the expectations of his son and of his culture. He runs to welcome back his long lost son.

He won’t hear of anything less than accepting him back as his full son. There is no way his boy is sleeping in the servants quarters! Not in his dad’s house. His dad is so excited to get him back he kills the prize calf! Gets his son all cleaned up with new robes and the family ring. And he throws a huge welcome home party!

Did you ever wonder what happened the next day?

Since we have a bit of a movie theme going on here with the sequel, I thought I would take a tip from another movie, “Sliding doors” and explore the idea of two possibilities, for the Prodigal Son’s future.

Scenario one:

The son, how about we call him ‘Tom’.

Tom wakes up the day after the party, He is lying in his huge feather bed in his old bedroom. It is so warm and comfortable and the servants have just come in to put some wood on his fire and check that he is alright!

He gives himself a quick pinch, “Ouch that hurt! This is really happening!” He looks around again. It looks so much grander than he ever appreciated before.

Before……before what? Before that pig pen, that filthy straw bed.

“How can this be happening?” He pinches himself again. “Ouch! It’s not a dream. it”s really true! The party, the new robes! The ring,” He checks yes, he’s still wearing the family ring! His father ran to welcome him! He can hardly believe, even that happened. But it did!

Fathers in his culture just don’t run. So his father, would even risk disgrace for him. Fancy running like that to welcome back such a fallen disgraceful son!

But then there was that look he saw on his older brothers face! Tom had seen hatred before! His brother knew the truth about him, he hated, he despised him. With that stark realization, Tom takes a good look around. Drinks it all in, all that luxury that guys like him really didn’t deserve. Even hand knotted silk carpets! Sadly he feels so ashamed and guilty and he just keeps thinking about his brother.

There’s no noise now outside his room, the servants have gone back to prepare breakfast. Surprisingly after the excesses and feasting of last night, the idea of breakfast at his fathers home, really makes his mouth water.

But Tom’s mind is made up now. He knows what he must do! He’s got his pride back now. People might forget the excesses of one night, but he can’t allow his father to wear his disgrace! So Tom slips out of bed slowly, reluctantly takes off his fine robes,

He looks around but can’t find his old clothes. But of course, he remembers now, the servants burnt them

last night on the bonfire! He finds the plainest things

he can then quietly slips out the window and runs off

away from the family home and away from his gracious father. He’s not going to put up with his brother’s glares and resentment. He’s not gonna be the focus of scandal! He’s certainly not gonna take charity from anyone, not even his own father! He promises himself that he will come back one day but it will be when he has earned the right himself!

Do you like my sequel? I hope you don’t! To respond like that would be like spitting in his Father’s face! Which is what we do when we refuse God’s grace! When we go looking for other ways to God. When he has gone to such lengths to save us. Sending his own Son to die on the cross and take the punishment, die the death, we deserve. Why would he do that, if there had been another way?

Before we return to look at a more positive Scenario for Tom. Let’s look at the next day for Tom’s big brother.

(Can’t call him Dick! We’ve got one of those and its been lovely to welcome him back!) Though we do have a couple of Toms amongst the kids! So how about we call our big bother Harry!

Harry if you remember, refused to join the party. His brother had forced his father to sell up half the family farm. So now he sat and thought about Tom that annoying little brother TOM. Tom had brought nothing but shame, disgrace and now scandal to the family. Now just when he thought people were beginning to forget what his little brother had done.

He dares to return! And it seems the disgrace just keeps getting deeper, talk about embarrassing shameful behaviour. In front of everyone, there was his father running down the road, like someone possessed.

Making an absolute fool of himself. That son. That brother of his was dead! At least in any decent respectable family he was and Harry thought his family was very respectable. Or it used to be before Tom cleared off. And it was starting to be again, before his dad lost the plot. How dare he throw a party for that loser brother of his.That spoilt little Tom! How dare he ruin everything! How dare his father kill the fatted calf? For Tom? What a scandal! Never killed anything, for me to celebrate, not even a fatted goat but precious little Tom, he gets the fatted calf! Well I’ll show them both! So he sits and he plans. I’ll make Tom’s life a misery and I’ll make Father realize, he can’t treat me this way! Imagine what the world would be like, If prodigals like my brother were welcomed back into respectable families!

As you can see the big brother hasn’t changed

at all. But now lets return to Tom because we can’t let the story end like that! Lets take a more positive “sliding door approach” to our sequel.

Scenario two: Tom has just woken up in his old room and his feather bed. How can this be happening? He pinches himself again.

“Ouch! It’s not a dream, it”s really true! The party,

the new robes! The ring, I’m wearing the family ring!”

He remembers, his father really ran to welcome him!

Wow what a Dad! He’d tried to tell his father he only asked to be taken back, as a servant. But he wouldn’t hear of it! As Tom sat on the edge of his bed

he realized what this meant!

His father loved him. He loved him more than Tom had ever imagined. Despite what Tom had done

(And floods of shame came back to him as he remembered how low he had gone.) Could his Dad have completely forgiven him? He looked around at the room the robes, the sandals, and the ring. Yes his dad loved him so much, he had forgiven him and taken him back into the family. Despite the cost to himself. Despite the scandal. His dad welcomed him back!

Illustration: The Lady in the Van.

Steve and I went to see, “The Lady in the Van”on Friday night. It’s the story of a disturbed woman.

A one time nun, now living in a van, in squalor in a street in respectable London. At one point in the story this derelict lady, is reminded by a priest in the confessional box, that she has already been forgiven

For a sin that torments her a sin she has confessed to him on many occasions. But clearly she can’t forgive herself. The film gives us a glimpse into her prayer life. Now spiraling into a desperate and groveling scene. Time and again she rocks back and forward as she pleads and pleads with God to absolve her. Never realizing how freely he offers his grace. When she is finally taken into care

and given fresh clothes and a bath she tragically returns to her derelict filthy dirty van to die alone.

Yet the father in Jesus story who is clearly God.

didn’t want Tom to grovel or plead or prove his worth.

He just welcomed him back and threw a great big party inTom’s honor. And what a party that had been!

What I imagine really happened the next morning

Would continue a bit like this. With Tom, getting up out of bed and walking down to the dining room for breakfast. His father sitting at the table looked up as Tom walked in and now they threw their arms around

each other again. Then they sat down at the table

and began to plan how together, they could make the farm better than it had ever been before.

Not because Tom had to work hard to please his father! No because he knew how much his father loved him he just wanted to love him back!

And the brother could have been part of that conversation If he wasn’t so full of resentment and hatred.

When Jesus told his story he wanted his audience to recognize and identify with his characters. Because in his ministry the story of the prodigal son was being enacted all around them. Think of Zacchaeus and the way Jesus welcomed him back

and went to his house for a party! Or Matthew the other tax collector, he invited to become his disciple; who went on to write a gospel. Or then there was

the disgraced women at the well, and she was a Samaritan outsider and Jesus revealed himself to her

and welcomed her into his kingdom! Jesus was eating even partying with prodigals all over the place, inviting them to the wedding feast of the lamb. And the big brothers, the religious establishment didn’t like it at all! They hated Jesus and the breath of fresh air, or life, he was blowing through the land. They hated him so much. They were planning to kill him.

We called our big brother Harry, but the story of the big brother and what he does next. Is just like the story of Saul of Tarsus, that we find in the book of Acts (8-9). Soon after the resurrection, the gospel that invited in the outcasts, was spreading all over the place. Just imagine all the good Jewish fathers

starting to welcome back their outcast children, because of stories like this one that Jesus had told.

That was just what was happening in the early church. The despised, the social and religiously dead ones were being raised back to spiritual life and being added to the Christian sect.

And Saul knew he just had to stop this happening!

So starting with Stephen he began to persecute the church. But then God’s intervenes and on Saul’s way to Damascus, Jesus reveals himself to Saul and Saul recognizes him and realizes what he has done! To cut a long story short, Saul becomes Paul. This revelation of Jesus as risen Lord and now his Saviour changes his direction, completely.

And I think it offers hope to those of us, who possibly identify more with the self-righteous big brother

than with the prodigal son.

Paul who once saw himself as one rightfully trying to defend the honor of the institution of the temple Is brought to recognize, his own sinfulness before God.

His hatred and resentments led him to kill and persecute, the fledging church! He once thought he was better than all of these new Christians. But God intervened and now he recognizes, he has innocent blood on his hands. And he realizes that true righteousness comes from Jesus alone and is offered to him as a free gift when his many sins are forgiven.

The grace of God that Saul experienced still offers hope for the big brothers or sisters amongst us. Paul’s eyes have been opened and he has an entirely new world view. God has offered him forgiveness and that forgiveness reconciles him not only to God but to those “little brothers’ that he had been so ferociously persecuting, the church.

And years later he is able to write

2 Corinthians 5:16- 19

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

How do you respond to God’s grace?

Like a prodigal set free and forgiven? So amazed by Christ’s love and sacrifice for you

that you now want to offer yourself to him to see his kingdom grow.

Or are you like the “Lady in the Van”

You’ve heard and heard about God’s free gift of forgiveness. But the guilt and anxiety or the legalistic graceless way in which it was presented to you at some time in your life

shouts louder! And so you just haven’t heard

perhaps until now, that God wants to be reconciled to you, because he loves you?

Paul tells us that,

“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” (5:19)

Don’t be like my imaginary prodigal who walks out the door and proudly turns his back on grace and forgiveness. Surely a response to grace like that

would be unimaginable like the proverbial dog that returns to its own vomit.

Jesus’ story reveals to us the amazing love of God the Father. The reading from Corinthians reminds us in the church, that God has entrusted us with the message of that forgiveness, that whoever we are, Tomasina or Harriet,Tom or Harry or you and me.

God has provided us with the way to be restored to him in Jesus and to be reconciled with each other

Today. I want to finish this sermon with a song By Graham Kendrick called, The price is paid.

The price is paid,

Come let us enter in

To all that Jesus died

To make our own

For every sin

More than enough He gave

And bought our freedom

From each guilty stain

The price is paid


Amazing grace

So strong and sure

And so with all my heart

My life in every part

I live to thank You for

The price You paid.

Copyright © 1983 Thankyou Music

Let us pray.