Summary: If the pardon issued is not accepted, it is invalid, you must accept it before it has value.
When does a Pardon have Value?
The sheep was lost because it may have foolishly wandered away; the coin was lost through no fault of its own.
The neighbors and friends were called because the lost was found; the valued was back in their hands.
Luke 15: 11-24
These are parables that Jesus was using to teach His disciples the value of something that was lost, and the difference of the one that chose to leave.
The son left because of arrogance, selfishness and self-centered.
We didn’t have a kidnapping, nobody was taken by force; we have a runaway. We have someone that knows more than anyone else, someone who has all the answers, someone that is invincible, someone that is self-centered.
The first two parables, was an all out search for the lost coin and the sheep.
What is different here?
The father never went after him, he never went searching for him; his father knew that he had to come back by his own choosing. He had to find out for himself that he was wrong, that he had made a bad decision.
Freewill was the deciding factor. The sheep didn’t know any better; the coin just fell into a crack or was pushed under something by accident.
The son made up his own mind and chose to go his own way.
He was willing to take 1/3 of his father’s estate, which would be his share as he was #2 son, and leave everything else for his father and brother to care for. This was legal but not ethical, it did not show respect for the father or the brother, but remember he was self-centered and he knew it all.
Let them work the land and the herds. He did not have any concern about anyone or anything except himself.
If you don’t know any better, you don’t have any knowledge about something, people are more willing to help guide you through the situation, but if you willing go against what you know is right, people are not so willing to help you.
No one wants to be around the know-it-alls, the arrogant, the self-centered, especially when they are wrong.
The father did not go after the young son; he did not send anyone out to spy on him. He did nothing; the son had to come to his own conclusion that he had made a major mistake.
He had to be willing to face the consequences of his actions.
A Jewish person does not eat pork (Lev. 11:2-8) swine were unclean, so for the son to take care of the swine was degrading. The Jews could raise them for sale, but to tend them was very degrading and humiliating.
But wait! He wanted to eat the pig’s food because he was hungry.
The humiliation of all this was more than he could take, now remember what his father did? NOTHING, he was just waiting for the son to return.
His father was home taking care of his property with the eldest son. Because the he left on his own accord, willingly he left the father.
The Father was watching and waiting for the Prodigal to come home. He saw him coming home when he was still a long way off. He ran to him. The banquet was made ready as soon as he arrived home.
Have you willing left what you know is right? Are you doing things that go against what God wants you to do?
He’s not going to chase after you if you chose to go a different way. You will have the opportunity to turn around and come back to Him.
You must choose to return to Him.
In 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the US Mail & was sentenced to be hanged.
President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it.
The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed.
"A pardon is just a slip of paper," wrote Marshall "the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned."
"If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged."
2,000 years ago Jesus the Christ issued a pardon... BUT, just like the case of George Wilson, the value of the pardon is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned...if it is refused, it is no pardon... It has no value.
If you are running from God, or refuse to obey Him, He will accept you back if you choose to accept your pardon.
Just like the pardon from President Jackson, you must accept it before it has value.
We are responsible for our own actions and our decisions.
No one can make a mental or spiritual decision for someone else; they must make that decision for themselves.