The Prodigal and The Other Son.

The goodnews that Jesus brought and indeed was, contains the information on how we can have a glorious present and look forward to a wonderful future in close relationship with God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. It tells us what God is like and thus why our lives will be full of the knowledge and examples of what it means to have the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit as mentor, friend, Lord, saviour and God. When you read Jesus' stories and parables you will often see how He explained that good news, the gospel message, within them. They show the Love of God and how He brought salvation to all men. Yes, God loves us!

Take the story of the Prodigal Son.

Luk 15:11-32 The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.

The beginning of the discourse started when the younger son of a person (representing God) asks for his inheritance. This son is operating under grace and asks for what has been promised to him. As a fully adopted son under the Roman system of adoption he was entitled to do this. Those under Roman rule would have known this.

In the same way we can in this age access the promises that God has given us. Our inheritance is not all off in the future, bye and bye! We can have it now by faith. Faith is the pipeline through which we access all the promises of our loving God.

The alternate reading of them being of Jewish character would have the younger son effectively wanting his father dead, because he would not normally get his inheritance until the death of his father!

Whichever scenario Jesus had in mind, the parable continues...

Luk 15:13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

So the younger son took advantage of what his Father offered and went out into the world. Unfortunately he did not use the blessings of his Father wisely and was soon bankrupt and without direct access to help since He had cut himself off from His Father. He was living according to his own wits and this is nothing like as blessed as living with our Heavenly Father. He came down to the level of pig keeper!

If you have any knowledge of pigs in a sty, this is likely to have been a very smelly situation. And if it was a hot summer? I certainly can understand why after a while he came to his senses!

Luk 15:17“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20a And he arose and came to his father.

What you should note is that having fallen on hard times and missed the mark of his calling, the young man switches from thinking under grace to thinking under law. Now he wants to be paid by his father according to his performance as a hired hand. He is no longer thinking son, he is thinking servant! He was right in one thing though; it's far better to be with God than outside His embrace.

As David said...

Ps 84:10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

So he had his speech ready, and he resolved to go back to His Father and ask to be a hired hand. Even they were much better off that he was in his current situation.

Luk 15:20b But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants,d ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

The returning son had his speech ready, but he was unable to use it. His Father saw him coming and ran to meet him. He hugged him and welcomed him and had His servants put the best clothes on him and a signet ring and shoes on his feet. Then he had the servants prepare a banquet to celebrate his return.

This shows how much love our Heavenly Father has for us, that He does not stand on protocol when it comes to His children! What matters is having a loving Father-Son/Daughter relationship. Everything else flows out of that.

This welcome and reconciliation without recrimination is not what would 'humanly' be expected. The prodigal son did not expect this treatment, but in Rom 4:8 Paul let's us know that for those under grace, 'the Lord shall by no means impute sin' to their account.

God will not hold our sins against us; but do not think that means He would let us stay in that state! He will move heaven and earth to bring His children into a loving relationship with Him. He would send people across our path to show us the way to live. God teaches us through His word. And it's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance!

But the returning son wasn't the only one who did not expect this to be the treatment meted out!

Luk 15:25“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28a But he was angry and refused to go in.

Luk 15:28b His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’

When his elder brother came in from the field He could not believe what was going on. He thought like a Lawyer - everything should be performance related. If you do good you should be treated good; if not - not! The emphasis is on merit rather than on love.

It's the attitude of those who think that they can do everything right. Just give them the list of what is good and what is evil and they can do it, they believe. Everyone should be judged by their standards, or rather, the standards they THINK they can perform. But, pride comes before a fall some say also!

The elder son remonstrates with the father that he was never 'treated' because of his good performance. No-one gave him a goat to celebrate with his friends because of how he kept all the commandments!

A few things you should notice here. He thought in terms of reward for performance like a hired man, not in terms of his position as a son.

Secondly his wish was to celebrate with his friends not with his family. His first love was not towards his Father; it was towards his peers. Live by law and it's hard to love what you see as the authorities who are crimping your style!

Luk 15:31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Also he didn't see that as the 'son' of 'the father' he could have had anything at any time. He didn't have to earn it by working! It was his by right of sonship. The work that he did should have come out of love for his father and wanting to promote the family vision.

And besides this, he didn't realise that he, like all men, is not perfect!

Rom 3:10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no not one;

The same lessons are there for us today. We don't earn salvation or blessings because of keeping commandments. We are saved by throwing ourselves on the mercy of our Father God, and accepting the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, by faith.

In the New testament there are about 800 commands for Christians to follow. If we are to remember all of these and keep them then we would be under the same type of burden that Israel had keeping the Old Testament Law with it's 613 commands.

Instead we are to live with Holy Spirit as our guide, not the Law, and thus we will be able to build up our relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus our elder brother. We will be living by faith which will please God, since the Law is not of faith!

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (not try to offer our (self) righteousness through Law keeping). and everything else will be added to us.

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Also we must realise that it's Jesus who is perfect and we must rely on and put faith in Him for our eternal salvation and blessings. When we do we come into that wonderful relationship of being fully adopted sons of God. Our God is GOOD.

Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son...

We are saved and put into Jesus' kingdom on repentance and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. We can access healing, deliverance, peace and prosperity now. Jesus has had it recorded that "As He is, so are we in this world".

If you can only think in terms of aspiring to be like Jesus was, when He was on earth, then even so, you have in you the ability to "heal the sick, cleanse lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons and to be so able to help others financially that you need a treasurer like Jesus did!

Though odly enough Jesus says we can aim to be able to do, obviously through Holy Spirit, everything He is able to do now. We are capable of doing greater things than He did when on earth Himself! But just doing what He did is still a fantastic reason to draw close to our Father God and hving a relationship that empowers and even compels us to do the will of God. To be like Jesus who only said what He heard the Father say and only did what He saw the Father doing!

God wants us to be fitting examples of 'Kingdom Life'; a life that is based on faith in Christ Jesus and guided by Holy Spirit in us. Living as and doing the things that Jesus did, hand in hand with our Father above, and being a blessing to others, just like Jesus.

That's the goodnews FOR the prodigal sons and daughters. We have a Father who loves us and has provided everything for us to enjoy abundant lives now, in a loving relationship with Him, and a glorious future into eternity.


The Two Trees In The Garden. Click Here.
What Kind Of Friend Is Jesus. Click Here.
What do you mean - Grace? Click Here.
The Heart Of God Click Here.

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