I'm my own man now! Boy, did I blow it!
Jesus was sharing a series of parables with His disciples when He shared the one of the ‘Prodigal Son’. Interesting, only Luke (the historian) records this parable. Interesting, because it does deal with attitudes and repentance reflecting our ability to regain eternal fellowship with our heavenly Father. Jesus had just shared the parables of the ‘Lost sheep’ and the ‘Lost coin’ when He shared the ‘Prodigal son’, all depicting the joy when something lost is found, when one who is without salvation comes into eternal life. The prodigal, if you will, brings it home for us.
11 And He (Jesus) said a certain man had two sons
12 The younger said to his father “Give to me the inheritance which will be mine.” So the father divided the inheritance between his two sons.
13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all that he had and traveled to another country and wasted his money on ‘living the good life’. (Party city!)
14 After he had spent all his money, a mighty famine rose up in the land and he found himself in need (broke, with nothing, nada).
15 So he hired himself out to a citizen of that country who sent him into the fields to feed the pigs.
16 He would have fainted (gotten sick and/or died) had he not eaten the husks that the pigs ate for no one would give him anything to eat.
17 When he came to his senses, he asked himself “How many of my father’s hired servants have enough bread even to spare and here I am starving?
18 I will get up and go back to my father and say to him “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son, so take me back (even) as one of your hired servants.”
20 He arose and came to his father. While he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion so he ran and fell upon his (son’s) neck and kissed him.
21 Then, the son said to him “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight and I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.”
22 But his father said to his servants “Bring forth our best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet.
23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it and let us eat and be merry
24 For this, my son, was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” And they began to rejoice and be glad.
25 Now, the older son had been in the field and as he drew near the house, he heard the music and the dancing.
26 He called one of the servants and asked “What’s going on?”
27 And the servant replied “Your brother has returned and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has received him (home) safe and sound.”
28 The older brother was angry and would not go in, so his father came out and urged him to join them.
29 But the older son said to his father “All these years I have served you, neither have I ever gone against any of your commandments. But you never gave me (not even) a kid to make merry with my friends.
30 Yet, as soon as your son returned, (he) who wasted all he had on harlots, you have killed the fatted calf for him!
31 And he (father) said to him “Son, you have always been with me and all that I have is yours
32` But it is necessary that we rejoice and be glad, for your brother was dead but he is alive again, he was lost and is found.”
Okay. Take note that dad didn’t refuse to let his younger son to take what he had coming and leave. God gives us free choice, as well. We can choose to receive Jesus or reject Him. We even have the freedom to walk away, even after we have once received our Lord into our lives. We can take all the good that Father has given us and walk back ‘into the world’, leaving God behind. Of course this may not be such a good idea for Father tells us it is better to have never experienced His goodness than to have known it and turned away (2 Peter 2:21-22).
This young man thought he knew better and took all he had and ‘blew’ it another country. We get the picture of wine, women, song ... Scripture doesn’t spell it out but it definitely leaves us with impression that once his money ran out, so did all his friends for no one would give him anything to eat. They were all gone, he could buy no more wine or women or friends and he, apparently, had no place to stay.
Oh, how many of us, when we were young, concluded we knew better than mom and dad? (Oops! Was that my hand going up?) We feel like we’re going to live forever so live it up now. Why plan for the future? Right?
So he found a man who would give him a place to sleep and food to eat (so to speak). He tended the man’s pigs. Now, I’ve never actually been to a pig farm but, driving up route 81 (towards Chambersburg, PA) I have passed one. Even with car windows rolled up, one can get a ‘whiff’ of those wonderful ‘aromas’ filling the air! (lol) Now, I don’t mind eating corn on the cob, but the term ‘husks’ (according to Webster’s and Strong’s) is the outer covering of the corn kernel. Wow! Sounds really nutritious, doesn’t it?
So, NOW, the first smart thing this young man does is make a right decision. He decides to go back to his father and tell him that he’s sorry for leaving and to tell him that he realizes, that even though he has hurt no man, he has left the ‘comforts’ and safety of his father’s home and rejected his dad, deeply hurting his father.
As the young man is coming home, his dad sees him off in the distance. Picture this, this boy is probably disheveled, ragged and dirty, but dad runs out and hugs and kisses him. Letting the boy know that he still loves him, no matter what he may have done or how he may look.
Even when we walk away from our heavenly Father, quit praying, quit church, quit reading the bible, God still loves us. So when we truly repent, no matter how we look, He receives us back into His fold with open arms! “Father, I have sinned against heaven and You, I’m sorry. Result: huggy, huggy, kissy, kissy, ‘welcome home’ son. Understand that when the boy left, his relationship with his father died – there was none. Without his father’s guidance he became lost. Understand his father’s comments when ‘his son was lost and is found, was dead and is now alive!’
The prodigal son is restored back into full sonship with the father. The robe represents ‘ you have regained access to my storehouses’, the ring restored full authority and the sandals ‘walk in my ways’, you are not a servant, but again my son. Jesus tells us “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15) – and live.
When we repent, Father receives us in the same way. Yet, our obligation is not only to ‘know’ Jesus’ commandments, but then to walk in them (James 2:17-20) renewing our minds daily (Rom. 12:1-2) enabling us to be able walk in Jesus’ steps. All heaven rejoices when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7). Obedience is important to Father (Psalm 34:18-22, 51:15-17). Keep in mind that should we walk away, we need to repent and come back. As Christians, we can turn our back on the Lord. Think, how much more would heaven and the angels rejoice when those who have turned away repent and come back?
Consider the workers in the field of the householder. The man went out several times throughout the day and hired workers. They all agreed to work for so much and at the end of the day, those who had worked all day were paid the same as those who had only worked a few hours (Matt. 20:1-16). Seems a little unfair, but when we consider that the wages we are talking about here are eternal life, how can one of us have more eternal life than another, even though some may have entered into it sooner?
I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons, the right or wrong of the older son, but as things come into perspective for us, I think we all can understand the situation.
In summary, let’s put the prodigal son into perspective. When someone confesses Jesus as Savior, coming into the kingdom of God, we are accepted into His fold. An infant is still a son though he really knows nothing and can’t do much. We need to grow in the Spirit, God’s love. Even as the child grows and learns to ‘take care of himself’ and make the right decisions, as young Christians, we need to learn God’s will and how to abide in His love. A child walks under tutors and governors until the time his father has appointed (Gal. 4:1-6). Father sets teacyhers and Spiritual guides into our lives to help us grow. Set aside chronological age here, we’re talking Spiritual age. Spiritual age is determined by how deeply we are abiding in the love of God! Not just how much do we know. Satan knows the bible, forward and backward, more so than any Christian but he still ‘chooses’ to separate himself from Father. Don’t forget, Satan quoted scripture against Jesus in the wilderness, BUT Jesus came back with the ‘whole’ truth (Matt. 4:1-11).
The prodigal son wasted his inheritance which his father had given him, after he left. Consider bank accounts, cars, homes, etc., all that stuff would be gone. The son wasted it. Those original items are his-to-ry. But it doesn’t mean that those things can’t be replaced (in this world and/or the next) with different items, once we come back into the kingdom.
Father gives every human a ‘gift’ which is without repentance, which means one doesn’t have to be ‘saved’ to have it. Doubt me? Look at the world of entertainment! How many performers have awesome talents but they don’t know the Lord? Yet, Father enhances those gifts as we use them for His glory.
As with the prodigal son, our recommitment to the Lord, restores those of us who have wandered, back into the Lord’s fold. We, once again become full sons (and daughters) of our Father in heaven. We may not have all that we had before, but we can start regaining, through our obedience to our Father, perhaps gain even more. And we do this by discovering how to live in God’s love, becoming obedient to Him eternally. Read the gospel of John! Read the letters that the apostle Paul! And once we’ve done that, go back, starting with Genesis and read the whole bible through Revelation to see the depth and breadth of God’s love toward us.
Jesus can restore us and when our heart is, once again right with the Lord, Father wraps His loving arms around us as He looks forward to the time when He can say to us “Welcome, My good and faithful servant (son) (Matt. 25:21).