Summary: This is an overview of the Prodigal Son, the beginning of a three week series that looks at the rest of the story.
What would be the worst job that you could possibly imagine yourself in? If the bottom fell out of your world, and you had no safety net what would be on the very bottom of the list of occupations? Perhaps the person in charge of Rob Ford’s Public image?
Now imagine if you will that you had been born into a very wealthy and privileged family, never had to work a day in your life, enjoyed everything that life had to offer and suddenly it was all taken from you. You had gone from the top to the bottom in less time than it took to say it, and now you were at the very bottom of the food chain. No job experience, unused to physical labor and hungry. What would you be willing to do to keep from starving to death?
Jesus tells the story in the book or Luke and it begins with the scripture that was read earlier, Luke 15:11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.”
Had to be two sons for the master story teller, one would have been have been too few, three or more would complicate the story. So there were two sons. An older son to whom 2/3 of the family’s estates would go to. But as Peter Parker was told, with great power comes great responsibility, and so he would be expected to take care of Mom and Dad.
The younger son, would get the remaining one third of the family fortune and he would be free to either hang around or hit the road it would be up to him, he’d get his 1/3 either way. A story that could have been told about you or about me there was nothing special about these two kids they were just people.
Most of us know it as the story of the Prodigal son, but it could have been called the Story of the Forgiving Father, or the Story of the Unforgiving Brother.
And so the story goes on, Luke 15:11-12 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
Now as we mentioned before that 1/3 of the family fortune, whether big or small would have been his when his father died, but hey who wants to wait around for that? And so he said, “Hey Dad, why can’t I have my share now?” We don’t know what the Father’s initial reaction to his son’s demand was but we do know that eventually, he divided his property between both sons, not simply the younger one.
I don’t know if the older son wanted his share up front or not, but he got it, and with it he got the responsibility of dealing with Ma and Pa. Now what the sons received was not necessarily just money, although that was a good part of it. But the most important thing that the sons received was control over their destiny. Up to that point they were still under Dad’s control but with their inheritance they obtained their freedom.
The father was saying, “I love you my son, enough that I’m ready to let go”
Now we can draw a parallel here with the gift of free will that we are given by God. God is saying, “My child I love you, I love you so much that I never want to be separated from you, and I would never hurt you, and there are times I wish I could keep you from sinning. But I loved you so much that I gave you your freedom, even if you use it to be separated from me.”
This man loved his son more than words could express and even though he probably had an inkling of what might lay ahead for his youngest he loved him enough to give him the freedom to choice his own path.
Luke 15:13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.
1) He Chose to Leave
His father had given him control, and he stayed only long enough to decide to leave. So he gathered up his choice and his free will and left home. In the story Jesus tells us that the son left for a distant land, but he didn’t have to he could have moved next door and the story would have stayed pretty much the same. Jesus said that he wasted his money in wild living, but he didn’t have to he could have invested it carefully and lived comfortably ever after. But he didn’t