Summary: Many people consider it the greatest short story ever written because it speaks so truthfully to the human condition. It’s really the story of a father with two sons. One sinned when he left the other sinned while staying home. We’re going to look at
The Scope of Grace
Since most of you are familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son, I thought I would read a different version of it it’s called the “Prodigal Son in the Key of F.”
Feeling footloose and frisky, a feather-brained fellow forced his father to fork over his farthings. Fast he flew to foreign fields and frittered his family’s fortune.
Fleeced by his fellows in folly, facing famine, and feeling faintly fuzzy, he found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy foreign farmyard. Feeling frail and fairly famished, he filled his frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments.
“Fooey,” he figured, “my father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, facing the facts. Finally, frustrated from failure and filled with foreboding, he fled.
Faraway, the father focused on the fretful familiar form in the field and flew to him and fondly flung his forearms around the fatigued fugitive. Falling at his father’s feet, the fugitive floundered forlornly, “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family favor.”
Finally, the faithful Father, forbidding and forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast.
Faithfully, the father’s first-born was in a fertile field fixing fences while father and fugitive were feeling festive. Frowning and finding fault, he found father and fumed, “He frittered family funds and you fix a feast for the fugitive?”
Frankly, the father felt the frigid first-born’s frugality of forgiveness was formidable and frightful. But, the father’s former faithful fortitude and fearless forbearance to forgive both fugitive and first-born flourished unfurl the flags and finery, let fun and frolic freely flow. Former failure is forgotten, folly is forsaken.
Jesus told a story about a young man who made a wrong decision and what happened to him as a result. We call it the parable of the prodigal son.
Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 15. This is a classic chapter. If our text last week was one of the most unfamiliar in the New Testament, our passage today is perhaps the most recognizable. Many people consider it the greatest short story ever written because it speaks so truthfully to the human condition. It’s really the story of a father with two sons. One sinned when he left the other sinned while staying home. We’re going to look at both of the sons this morning.
In order to understand the parable, we need to start with verses 1-2: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!’”
You can almost feel the tension here, can’t you? Jesus likes to spend time with the worst kind of people and it bothered the self-righteous religious people. They wanted Him to spend his time with good people. Jesus then tells three parables that are directed to these grumpy old saints.
In the first one, a farmer has 100 sheep and one gets lost. Jesus shows how the farmer leaves the 99 and goes on a search and rescue mission for the one that is lost. In the second story, a widow loses one of her 10 coins and searches intently until she finds it. These coins represented her Social Security savings just as she lost hers, we’re probably going to lose ours as well! In the third story, a son is lost and eventually returns home.
There are many things that could be said about these three parables but I want to just point out one common thread. Whenever the lost is found, there is great rejoicing! In Verse 6, the farmer calls his buddies together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” In verse 9, the widow says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” And when the lost son returns home, the father throws a big party filled with rejoicing.
Jesus is making the point that when the lost are found, heaven throws a big celebration! Whenever a lost person repents, spontaneous partying breaks out in heaven. Whenever guilt is kissed away by God’s grace, the angels go wild!
The Younger Son
Now, let’s begin with the younger son in verse 11-12. “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father give me my share of the estate.’ so he divided his property between them.”
The younger son chafes under his father’s rule and perhaps feels put down by his obedient older brother. So he demands his inheritance while his father is still alive and in good health. In traditional Middle Eastern culture, this was the equivalent of saying, “Father, I’m eager for you to die!” Normally, a father in this situation would kick his kid out of the house for making such an unthinkable request. In fact, the father is expected to refuse a request like this.