Summary: This is a sermon about lost relationships.
Luke 15: 1 – 3; 11b – 32 / Two Sons
Intro: Suppose you were at a bus stop and a friend came by giving you a small bag saying, “I don’t need this anymore. It’s yours. You take the bag and without looking inside, you get on your bus and head for home. When you get off at your stop, you accidentily leave the bag on the bus and as the bus pulls away, you try to wave for it to stop but it is too late. A couple weeks later you run into your friend who says, “What did you think of the diamond ring I gave you? It’s worth about $10,000.” You lost a $10,000 dollar ring because you didn’t think what was in the bag was valuable enough to expend the energy to retrieve it.
I. VS. 11 “There was a man who had 2 sons. It is significant that the story begins focusing on the relationship to the Father.
A. Vs. 12 What the son asked was not uncommon. A parent could distribute his estate prior to death.
B. The younger was entitled to 1/3 of his father’s estate. This was mandated by law and custom. He was thinking of himself and what a good time he could have with what was already his.
C. The father obviously didn’t want his son to stay home if the son didn’t want to be there. Didn’t want him to feel obligated. Perhaps he didn’t want to be a burden.
II. Those of us who are parents know how difficult it is to stand by and watch your children make bad choices and have to live with the consequences. But, it is necessary.
A. I’m sure there was not a day or hour that passed without the father gazing down the road watching for his son’s return.
B. Vs. 20 The father recognized his son despite the rags, the emaciation, the dejection, the head bent low in shame and rears.
C. There is no other image that even comes close to describing God than that of this waiting and watching father, longing for the child’s return.
III. There is another character in the story who is often overlooked. That is the older son who stayed home.
A. There is one in every family. The child that is dependable and sensible. The one upon whom the burdens seem to naturally fall. Often there is resentment on their part against the other siblings. Vs. 28 – 29 The older son shows his “righteous indignation.”
B. Vs. 12b – So he divided his property between them. Skip to Vs. 31 “My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Why is he so angry?
C. The younger son was lost to his father by distance; while the older son was lost to his father by emotion. BOTH SONS ARE LOST.
Conclusion: the younger son’s speech in VS. 21 is an attempt to restore a lost relationship. It contains: an address = Father, a confession = I have sinned, contrition = I am no longer worthy, a petition = treat me like one of your hired hands.
As the story begins by focusing on the relationship to the Father with the words, “There was a man who had 2 sons.” It ends by focusing on restoring a family relationship with “This brother of yours.”
If repentance for the younger son means learning to say “Father” again, then for the elder son, it means learning to say “brother” again.
Neither son was lost! It was the relationship to their father and each other that had been lost. Jesus uses this parable to not only teach us the importance of having a loving relationship with each other as brothers and sisters of faith; but also the importance of having a loving relationship with God our Father.