Summary: Mutiny, pride, security, arrogance
THE DEATH WISH
Luke 15: 11-12 (p740) July 17, 2011
Have you ever wanted someone to die?
I have! I remember my father's battle with cancer...it had ravaged his entire body...He only weighed 135 pounds when it began, but after battling it for a year...the last six months being the worst...he probably tipped the scale at 90....the chemotherapy....the I.V.'s all the surgivers...At 80 my Dad's earthly body had wasted away...he was finishing the race...and I'm not ashamed to say that in those last 2 weeks I wanted my father to die...
I know Jesus was his Savior...had been since his early teens and reaffirmed through his recovery after losing a leg in world War II. He was ready, Mom was ready, my brother and sister and I were ready...and we were praying for the Lord to take him home...I didn't want him to die because I hated him, or because I couldn't wait to get my inheritance, I wanted him to die because home was better than here.
Our text starts our: "There was a man who had two sons." This story is almost always referred to as "The Parade of the Prodigal Son".
But its not just the prodigal thats emphasized in the story...as the story opens all three major players in the story are mentioned...the father, the younger son, and the older son...maybe a better name for the parable would be "The Compassionate Father and the Two Lost Sons"
The story captures the interaction and the relationship between all three of these individuals...the older son is clearly as important in the story as the younger brother.
In fact the climax of the story occurs in the courtyard at the end. The father is pleading with His oldest son...this sons anger at his father and his younger brother at the end isn't window dressing..its absolutely essential to the entire parable.
As we look at this story through middle Eastern eyes...there are key factors that emerge...we'll continue to examine them as we proceed...verse 1. records.
"The younger one said to his father, "Father give me my share of the estate "So, he divided his property between them."
Such a request meant only one thing in this society... "The younger son is impatient for his father to die."
It is unthinkable in middle Eastern culture for any son to request his portion of the family wealth while his father is still alive. Every middle Eastern peasant..in every village understands this instinctively.
This request would never be made...if it were made the father would get very angry and refuse Why? This request means he wants his father to die!"
Not because of cancer...but only out of selfish disrespect for a system in place from Abraham till now. All across the Middle East from Algeria to Iran, from the Sudan to Syria---hold in highest regard the Father's oversight of the household until his death...at that time he gave his blessings along with his inheritance.
With this truth in mind lets examine what this verse tells us about all three principle characters in the story..beginning with
I THE YOUNGER SON
His request, "Father, give my my share of the estate."