Summary: Prodigal Son - As Christians it is not just who we act like as much as who we should.
Who do you think we are?
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
I don’t know about you but I sometimes spend a large portion of my day looking for stuff I put away for safe keeping. Sometimes I spend 5 minutes looking for the remote control for the TV instead of walking 5 feet to change the channel.
When my car keys are missing it is always an emergency. Sound the alert and get everybody to help. I usually don’t know my keys are lost before I really need to be leaving.
When I loose something, even if it is not directly my fault it all depends on me taking some action to recover the item.
This scripture is one of three parables where Jesus is describe how God takes actions to recover what is lost.
Jesus is hanging out with tax collectors and sinners…. Tax collector is very specific, in those days they knew who they were. They sat in little booths and accessed the value of your goods and made you pay up. They worked on commission. So the more you were taxed the more they made. I guess we pretty much think bad things about tax collectors today. If they happened to be an honest tax collector, they were still considered unclean because they worked for the Romans. So most religious folks did not invite them to parties much. Then scripture also says he was talking to sinners.
Sinners sounds a little vague. That could be a huge category for the types of people. They could be people with bad reputations, folks that did not go to church maybe even people that had health problems. Anyone that was considered un-clean to the religious leaders of the day would be a sinner.
Then the description of the other group watching and listening Pharisees and teachers of the law. The ones that were standing with sneers on their faces. Judging the assembled group and Jesus. And saying Look who he is hanging around with…
So Jesus tells three parables, The story of the Lost sheep, the lost coin and the man who had two sons. Technically, all the stories have the same main point. That the action is not made by the lost item but is made by the owner, or God to recover the lost.
So the parable of the man with two sons starts out with the younger son making a request of the father that would have been unheard of in the day. Technically he is saying Father I want you to die and give me what will be mine.
And what do you think the crowd thought when Jesus said he divided his property between them. Maybe it was a good way the get the people to listen. Not just the Sinners but the religious, Maybe they thought I gotta hear where this whopper is going.
The younger son Goes off and Blows everything in a foreign country.
The younger son goes do to Daytona beach and parties, Beer, girls, gets a Harley Motor cycle, Rides up and down the street at all hours. Leaves his trash out on the front porch of his rented house and before long he is out of cash. He gets a minimum wage job feeding livestock and he won’t his first check until the end of the month.
Ok here is the Quick history over view. A good boy does not ask for is inheritance before his dad is dead or until he retires and is ready to trust the oldest son with all the daily decisions.
A good son would not blow all the hard earned money that his dad gave him, especially not in gentile territory on sinful things. Getting a job would not be so bad but with pigs ... everything about the foreign country was sinful.
The younger son realizes he could do better at home, as a servant than he is here. And he realizes that he will have to listen to a lecture and eat a little crow…But at least he will have a good meal and a roof over his head. He hopes in his heart that Dad will take him in. He practices his speech and heads home.
It seems that dad was watching for his younger son to come home. And when he does Jesus says he runs to meet him… Here is another point for the hearers of the story that would have bothered the listeners. Culturally the father would not run to greet anyone that was not more important than himself. Small children run to dad all the time, but dad would not run to the kids. It was simply an understanding of how one acted as a head of household.
So Dad not only greets the son, He does not let him get his speech out before he is getting rings and robes and shoes.