The Prodigal Son
The story of the prodigal son can be found in Luke 15:11-20.
There was a man who had two sons. The youngest son, despite the cultural disrespect he would show his father, asks for his share of the inheritance that he would receive when his father died. His father willingly gives it to him and shortly after, the son packs up all of his belongings and moves away to a far away country. He spoils his inheritance on foolish living. Now, he has no money left and the worst possible thing begins to happen: a famine strikes the land he’s living in.
In a desperate state, he convinces a local farmer to hire him so that he can survive. The only job that was available for him to work was to feed the pigs in the field the farmer owned. He begins to work on the fields and feed the swine. He was so hungry and destitute that he looks over at what he’s feeding the animals and longs to fill his stomach with the pig slop.
He has a moment where he remembers his father’s house. He realizes that even his father’s servants had good food to eat. In fact, they had more than enough. So, he makes a plan to return home and tell his father “I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” (Luke 15:19)
He heads home back to his father. The bible says “while he was still a long way off”, his father saw him coming home. He begins to run toward his son, filled with compassion in his heart, he embraces him home. The father proceeds to show him he wouldn’t be a hired servant but that he was his son. He proceeds to put a robe on him, a ring on his finger, gets shoes for his feet, and throws a celebration.
His son had finally returned home.
Leaving the Father’s House
Jesus gives a great sermon in the chapter of Luke 15. He starts by telling a few parables to a large group of people. He tells three different parables: the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son. He is telling these as messages of redemption and restoration. His main goal was to convey to the hearers the Father’s heart toward humanity in restoring us back to him. In order to be restored back to him, we have to first understand when and how we leave the Father’s house as believers.
The father’s house represents protection and blessing. There is also favor that comes with living in relationship with Christ and following in His ways. This represents God’s authority in the life of a believer. All throughout the body of Christ, there are people leaving the father’s house who don’t even recognize it because their attitude is changing toward the absolute authority of the written word of God.
It has become increasingly common for people in the body of Christ, Christians, to call into question the absolute authority of the written word of God. Little comments and small compromises attempt to indicate there is some kind of wiggle room within the written word of God. These comments are regarding creation, human sexuality, life and the sanctity of life in the womb. This makes room for politics and personal opinions to dictate our lives rather than the Bible.
We must understand that in the last days, if we shift even one degree away from the Scriptures, we are vulnerable to deception. We become open to believing things that are not true and completely disagree with God’s word.
This is so dangerous. We are leaving the Father’s house when we reject God’s word.
All scripture is authoritative. It demands action and a response to what it says. The Old Testament is authoritative because all the prophecies about the messiah came true. The New Testament is authoritative because it was written by the apostles who saw and talked to the resurrected Jesus. They wrote word for word what He said. Not just in red but in black as well, the words of Jesus. The New Testament is authoritative because it contains the words of Jesus, the resurrected Messiah.
What is becoming common now is picking and choosing Scripture.
Here’s what happens when we break apart and choose what Scripture is authoritative:
1. We become our own authority.
2. We become our own standard for right and wrong.
3. We become our own God.
The prodigal son became his own standard for morality. He became his own God, therefore he became subject to his own will, protection, and blessing. He quickly found out that being his own authority wasn’t going well. When he was no longer living in the favor of his father’s house, he lost everything and went bankrupt. When he became his own god, he consequently lost his inheritance.
The prodigal son, however, doesn’t stay in this condition. He reaches this point of “I have sinned”. He came to the end of himself and knew that leaving was the worst decision he could have made. In our own lives, there is power in honesty and openness with the Lord in confessing that we have sinned. Just saying it to him and confessing is healing even though He already knows.
There is a poverty in our hearts that we can reach like the prodigal son. Matthew 5:3 says, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs”. We have nothing to bring God in terms of righteousness. The only thing that we can do is to realize our need for him. Yet, the prodigal son didn’t just confess his position and stay in the pigsty. He confessed his sins and returned to the father’s house. This is true repentance. Just like God’s promises require action, so does his forgiveness. We can’t just merely confess our sins, but turn away from them and turn back to God.
When the prodigal son was returning to the father, his father rushed out to meet him. With love in his eyes toward his son, he ran out to welcome him home. This is the Gospel message. No one is too far from the father’s house. Anyone who will return to Him lowly in heart will find the loving Father running out to embrace them.
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