Summary: This talk reflects on 1. The Status of the prodigal son 2. The State of the prodigal son and 3. How the prodigal son came to his senses
The Parable of the Prodigal Son Lk 15:11-32
The key to understanding this story can be found in the opening verses of Luke 15.
Let me read them to you:
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people – even eating with them.
Jesus told this story because people complained about WHO he spent time with.
They complained about Jesus spending time with tax collectors and other notorious sinners.
The Jews didn’t like tax collectors because they helped the hated Romans collecting taxes – and so were seen as traitors or collaborators with the enemy.
And because they took more than they should of – to make themselves rich.
The other notorious sinners would be people who were
i) immoral – like prostitutes and
ii) those who had jobs that the religious Jew considered “unclean”. Like people who sold pork to the Greeks and Romans living in Israel at the time.
But the Jews completely missed what Jesus’ mission was all about.
The reason Jesus came to this earth was not to pat the “righteous” on the back and tell them how well they had done.
It was to call sinners to repentance
Jesus came to this world to tell people that God loves them and that God is willing to have a relationship with anyone who turns from his wrong deeds.
And so he told the story of the Prodigal Son to illustrate that point – to show what God’s love is for all of us.
Story: As I was preparing this talk on Friday it seemed to me that at least eleven words beginning with the letter S were associated with the story of the Prodigal Son
Any thoughts what they might be?
5. Slops of 6. sin
8. Son or
10. Smitten (by the Father’s love)
11. Stuck-up (elder brother)
But I want to look at just three S’s today
1. The Status of the Prodigal Son
However low the Prodigal Son sank – he still remained the son of His father.
His status or standing hadn’t changed EVEN if his state had.
And as Christians, our status doesn’t change – however miserable our state becomes.
The incredible thjing is that we ARE Sons of God
And yet there are so many Christians out there who simply forget “who they are”
The devil sits on your shoulder saying: “Well who do you think you are?”
Who do you think YOU ARE?
You are a son or daughter of God
What a privilege – you didn’t earn it – you were given it.
2. The State of the Prodigl Son
There is a big difference between Status and State!
The Prodigal – despite being the son of his father was in a sorry state.
He was – in Jewish eyes – living the lowest of the low life – feeding pigs
And in the same way, our state is determined by the way we choose to live our lives.
We can eat at the Father’s Table or we can wallow with the pigs in the slops of sin – the choice is ours
Story: When Moses sent the 12 spies into the Promised Land 10 came back saying: We saw ....giants and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight (Nu 13:33)
It was the same people who had witnessed God’s wonderful miracle in parting of the Red Sea – who so quickly looked back to the slavery of Egypt.
And it took generations to get the slave mentality out of them – until they could see themselves as God;’s chosen people.
As Bob Gass said in Word for Today on Friday 4th July 2008 : “Be careful: Hard Times can make you think you don’t deserve to be blessed. And until we claim our rightful place in Christ, the Devil will tell you - you don’t deserve God’s goodness.” (slightly paraphrased)
The answer is simply this:
You don’t deserve God’s blessing – the Prodigal Son didn’t deserve to be received back by his Father.
It is by God’s grace that the Prodigal Son was received back by his Father – and so it is with us.
Why because he loves us
Bob Gass told this interesting story in the same Word for Today snippet
“A man in the prairie observed an eagle fatally wounded by a gunshot.
He writes: “With his eyes gleaming…he slowly turned his head, giving one last…longing look towards the sky.
He’d often swept those starry spaces with his wonderful wings…the sky was the home of his heart. There he had displayed his strength a thousand times…played with the lightening and raced the wind.