A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker at our church. The sermon was on a very well known passage from the Bible. We know it by “The prodigal son” in Luke 15:11-32
The story of a father and two sons. The father represents Jesus in this story and what He offers us. His amazing invitation to come home to Him. The younger son represents all the people who want no ties and choose freedom. They choose a life of experiences but put no real value in the relationship with the father. The older son represents those who live by the book. The respectable ones, those who work hard and achieve something.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can identify with both brothers. When was the last time you said to God: “Yes God, I would like your blessings and your gifts, but as far as having you as my King… ” ? That is what the young son did wasn’t it? He wanted the father’s money but not the father.
The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” Luke 15: 12-1
When we come to think about the older son, when was the last time we said: But God, I am doing everything by the book: I am not drinking, steeling, lying, I pay my bills, I have a good life and I am an example to everyone, I even go to church every Sunday … why this or that is not happening? It is just not fair!” See the older son kind of had a tantrum when he found out his father was celebrating his son’s return.
“29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” Luke 15:29-30
The father went out to both sons. To the first he run while the son was still a long way out and opened his arms to him to receive him back not as a slave but as a son. Jesus does not want slaves.
“22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:22-24
God does not just tolerate us, HE loves us! He wants us in the feast. Then the father went out to the older son to beg him to come into the feast. There again He was extending the invitation to the second son, who, despite being there with the father, did not have a relationship with him… a father son relationship. He saw himself as a slave and the father as a slave driver.
Jesus is offering to both kind of people the same thing: a place in the feast – eternal life with Him. The young son had a bad past – he had done something terrible. He was as bad as bad can be. But no one can be too bad for Jesus. HE died on the cross for all the badness in the world. So it is not badness that keep people out of heaven. The older son, was respectable, hard working, by the book kind of son. But he was too good to accept charity… he was doing all the things right. Goodness can keep people out of heaven because they fail to recognize the mercy and grace that was extended to them as well. The older son refused to take part in the feast of mercy and celebration of a life that had been found.
May God help us all to accept the invitation to be part of the feast!
This post was based on the sermon preached by Glen Scrivener. The original sermon can be found here http://www.angmering.org.uk/sermons/?preacher=Glen+Scrivener