Summary: Jesus' memorable sermon includes two kinds of prodigals, those who go into far countries of life and those that stay close to home. Both need God's love and forgiveness.
The Waiting Father;
The favorite story that Jesus told, The Prodigal Son, is really of the Waiting Father… of Two Prodigal Sons.
Scripture: Luke 15:11-29
His audience was a large crowd of very religious people. Church Leaders and Biblical Scholars, hoping Jesus would give them some ammunition for their criticism. After all, it was their dead religious world and Jesus was the intruder.
He told the story of a familiar-sounding young man - youngest son of a wealthy farmer, living under the scorn of an arrogant older brother, who dreamed of a different, exciting, life in the city. You know the story. He asked for his share of the family inheritance early, because he knew that his older brother would receive two thirds of the inheritance, including the farm. He had his own future to build. He goes into a far country (don’t come to look for me), wasted his small fortune in foolish choices just as the country was entering a famine, and became a caretaker for hogs. As Jewish man, who was raised to avoid pigs, now feeds them. He became so hungry that he considered eating what they had left over.
Some of us may know something about being a prodigal, living in a far country and living in poverty? We have our own far countries; our careers, our recreation, our habits, our dreams and fantasies. You can be in a far country even when you are home. “We do not all sin a like, but we are all a like because we sin.” The Bible declares “We have all sinned and come short of God’s standards.” We all have hungers. I don’t know what the movie, ‘The Hunger Games’ is all about, but it is a good way to describe life.
There are those redeeming moments, some of us call them – “God Moments.” The young man had one of those. “He came to himself.” He looked at himself, dirty and in rags, his surroundings – dirty pig pen. He thought of His Father, and decided to go home. Broken, repentant, weary, he started for home. Can you see that in your mind? Can you put yourself there? If so, you will be glad to know “the rest of the story.”
Meanwhile, back at the farm…There was a Waiting Father.
1. He did not go looking for him, ready to rescue him or force him to come back.
2. He did not become angry, hurt, and give up hope for his return.
3. By day he sat and looked at the road, hoping his son would come home.
4. By night he would pray for God to care for him and send him home.
Jesus was painting a portrait of God as he knew him.
-He did not call him some old strange name, He called Him Father.
-He did not describe him as a stern judge, an angry policeman or an uninterested observer.
He knew God as the Father, the one he came to earth to represent. He taught us to pray, “Our Father.” He said, “I and the Father are one.” He promised that God will “forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
This Father – met the son as he came, covered his rags with a costly robe, put the ring of the family on his finger and put shoes on his feet so no one would see him as a slave.
We have a waiting Father.
He waits for us to leave our far countries and come home,
He waits for us to come back into his life, his provisions, his blessings,
He waits for our prayers, our willing spirits, and our desire to serve him;
This can be your Father’s Day!
But there is another chapter to this story. There is “an older brother in the picture.”
While the father waited, he worked; while the father mourned, he managed the farm.
He could remember happier days in the family,boyhood fun with the younger brother, disputes over who was in charge, hatred that the son had taken part of the family fortune to waste.
When He came in from the fields, he heard the sounds of a party. Asking the servants, they told him what had happened.
And he was furious!
He despised his brother and sorry he came home,
He was angry that his father had been cheated and now fooled
He chose to avoid this family thing. He stayed in the backyard.
His father, waiting for him to come in, was forced to pursue him by going outside to him.
He told of his complaints, his loyalty, hard work, obedience and felt neglected.
He never came in!
We also have our times of being the Elder Brother –
Angry, ugly, secluded, obnoxious!
A girl’s prayer: “Make all the bad people good and all the good people nice.”