The Lost Son thought he was missing the fun of life. Read on and discover the eternal truth about God, your perfect Father in heaven.
“To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” Luke 15:11-24.
Jesus, why do you associate with sinners?
Our this weekly insight begins with the statement “to illustrate the point further.” What is the point Jesus tried to illustrate? You see verse 1 of the chapter records the truth that the tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus. Did you note it says, “notorious sinners”? Dictionary says notorious sinners ‘famous or well known, typically for some bad quality or deed.’ People with a bad name or reputation or deep-rooted sinners often came to and listened to Jesus. Pharisees, the so-called religious and pious people in Jewish religion did not like it. On top of that, verse 2 says the Pharisees saw Jesus associating with such bad reputable people and listen – even eating with them. They wanted Jesus to associate with them and eat with them- not with notorious sinners. Therefore the question is why notorious sinners and tax collectors came to Jesus and why did he eat with them?
In order to illustrate why he did this, Jesus said the parable of lost sheep and lost a coin. Now he is telling them a third parable-the parable of the lost son. Jesus repeating the parables to make sure they understood the point of why He did what He did.
The parable touches the heart of all people, doesn’t it?
The parable of the lost son, I believe, is the best parable Jesus ever said. In addition, this is the best parable or short story ever told in human history. The two parables we studied in the last two weeks-the lost sheep and the lost coin-touches our inner being or soul. The parable of this week- the lost son-identifies human nature and that is why we love this parable and so dear to our hearts and minds. Every time when we read or hear this parable, it goes deep down to our soul and has the divine power to produce divine results from our innermost being. We all know it reveals the truth of humanity because we all know someone in our life who were rebellious and went astray-a child, a friend, a brother or someone close to us. We experienced it in our lives.
Something was going on in the younger son’s heart for a long time.
Jesus said a man had two sons. The younger son came and told to this father that he wants his share of father’s estate/inheritance right now. He did not want to wait until the death of the father. In fact, he was saying, I do not care you live or die. I want my inheritance right now. The father was an unusual father. He agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. I believe he must have discussed with him to wait before he gets his estate. However, understanding the adamant and rebellious nature of his son, finally, he agreed because he loved his son. However, as soon as he got the share he packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land. He wasted all his money in wild living. The money and wealth gathered and kept by his father over many many years, he spent carelessly in loose living. No sin and disobedience happen in the flash of a moment. He must have been thinking about such sinful and loose life for a long time. He wanted to have pleasure and enjoy his life. He thought he was missing the fun in his life. He wanted to have more freedom, fun, and enjoyment. Therefore he was thinking about it for a while and he could not continue living in the father’s house anymore. You see what we put in our heart has the potential to determine our decisions and actions. Be watchful and careful what you feeding in your hearts and minds. Philippians 4:8 says in the Bible, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Feed minds with noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy things.
The boy lost inside the house by going after the fleeting pleasures of sin
Secondly, the younger son was in the house with his father. It tells us he was not an outsider. He knew and experienced the love and care of his father. In Christian terms, the lost son was a church going -person who knew the father God. However, he thirsted for the world and its lusts. You see our first parents Adam and Eve were also in the same situation. They knew God created them, loved them and cared for them. However, they started doubting the good plans/intentions of the Lord God. When the devil told them God does not have the best interests for them, they started believing his lie. Devil told them Lord is hiding good things from them. You can read about it in Genesis 3. The devil said to them God was telling them a lie- he said if you eat the forbidden fruit, you will not certainly die. However, God already said to them they would. The devil, the deceiver, liar and murderer got influence in their heart to disobey loving God’s words.
You see the same thing happened in the younger son’s heart. The devil started working in his heart slowly by tempting him to disobey God to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of life. Bible says in Hebrews 11:24-26 this regarding the great leader of Israel, Moses. It says, “By faith Moses when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Because of his faith and trust in God, when Moses grew up, he rejected the fleeting pleasures of sin. Why? He considered forsaking the fleeting pleasures of sin has greater value than the pleasures or treasures this world can offer. However, sadly, this younger son of the father chose the opposite way. He thought he is missing the real fun of life and chose the fleeting pleasures of sin. You see Bible says sin has pleasure. However, it is only momentary. It is only short term. Sin has temporary pleasures. However, you see, the pleasures or enjoyment of sin are fleeting. It fleets away pretty soon. The people will be left with the dire consequences of the fleeting pleasures of sin. How true it is!
Watch! Let no one deceive you.
Beloved, let not devil or no one deceive you into the way of the fleeting pleasures of sin. It will only leave you with regrets, pains, sufferings and a long period of severe consequences. You see he was thinking about this sinful life for a long time because he was tempted by the pleasures of sin. It did not happen overnight. He filled his mind with the fascination of the pleasures of this world and eventually devil got full control on him. He demanded from his father his share of the estate ‘now’. He could not wait anymore. You see, if you allow the devil and the world to influence your mind and thinking, eventually he would get control over your thought process and action. Instead, you fill your heart with the promises of the word of God. Fill your heart with Bible verses. Keep a thankful, prayerful and contented attitude. Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is a great gain.” If you have fear of God and have contentment with what God gave you, the Bible says it is a great gain for your life. In contrast, people who allow this world and devil to influence in their heart and thinking process get into temptations, traps and many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (6:9). The young man had no contentment, thankfulness and he allowed his mind to be continually tempted by sinful desires.
Pay me now pay me later.
Our parable continues in verses 14-16 and it says his money ran out. A great famine swept over the land. He began to starve. You see when he had money he had friends around him. He went to nightclubs, partying, girls and spending time enjoying the ‘fleeting’ pleasures of sin. He never knew these pleasure that sins offer is fleeting and big consequences are on the way. Now, pay day came. There is a saying, “Pay me now or pay me later.” You see you can honor and obey God and his words now. Or you will pay later the painful consequences of disobedience and rebellion.
Payday arrived – lowest of all.
No more friends around him. No more beautiful girls around him. Why? They were all around him for his money, not for him. Once the money ran out, they all left. Not a trace of them to find anywhere. Does this ring bell to you?
He began to starve. No money. On top of that famine swept the land. He started paying for his rebellion. He went to see a local farmer believing he can get hired by him. The man sent him out to his fields to feed his pigs. Look, there is nothing more degrading than this for a Jewish young man to desire for the pods of pig food. It says he became so hungry that even the pig’s foods looked good to him. However, no one even gave him the food of pigs to him. He was starving to death.
Beloved, this is how you finally pay for your sins. When we leave the loving God and his presence and travel to a distant country the result would be unimaginably bad. Are you a child of God? Are you thinking you are missing something in God’s house and pondering to go to the world and fill the joy and pleasure of this world offer? You are at the brink of danger. Think again. Bible portrays God as your loving Father. He has good and beautiful plans and inheritance for you. He is richer and wealthier than all the human fathers ever lived combined together. The whole earth and the universe belong to him. Do not leave your loving, wealthiest and loving father in heaven to go to this world and disobey him by giving you over to the fleeting pleasures of sin.
Aren’t you glad he came back to sanity?
The parable of Jesus continues by saying, he finally came to his senses. He started talking to himself. He said to him, “at my home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare.” You see nobody would spare him even the pig’s food in this far country. He is left alone. No wonderful, exciting friends, no girls, no help. His farmer does not even spare pig food for him. Lowest of low state, right? Therefore he said to himself, “I am dying of hunger! He said he will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”
I am glad he finally came to his sense. You see, there are many people who do not even come to this sense but continue in their lost state of the dire and painful consequences of sin. It is important to come to sense so those good days would come again in your life by the forgiveness and mercy of the Lord.
Bible says he returned to his father. I am so glad he did. Aren’t you glad he returned to his father? He knew he is not worthy to be called his son. His wish was to work in his father’s field as one of the hired servants. He knew his hired servants have decent food to eat. You see, sin always takes us to places where we never imagined in our mind. Sin always results in consuming things we never thought off. Sin always leads us to serve things we never thought we would serve. For example, drugs, addictions, immoral sexual life always leads you to serve these very things with no way out. Only repentance can change the course of life. Repentance and asking God (your father in heaven) forgiveness and walking back to him would restore you. Nothing else would do. The younger came to his sense and did exactly this. He thought what I am doing here in this distant country away from a loving father. How lowly I became- lower than lower I ever thought. He had memorized what he would say to his father when he comes back to his father. He practiced the words he would say on the way back home.
He never expected to become the son of his father again. He knew humanly it is impossible because he got all the shares of his inheritance and wasted it all in loose and sinful life. He does not have any claim now. He just wants to work for his father as one of his servants.
Beloved, when you go away from loving God’s care and presence, when you ran away from his home, you may be thinking something better is waiting there for you. It is a lie of the devil. He used the same lie from the very beginning or dawn of human history. Listen, there is nothing out there for your good. You may be thinking that God is holding something back from you. The truth is God has all good things for you in his home. He is not holding any good thing from you. He only protects you from harmful and destroying things. He loves you and cares for you.
As he was near to his father’s home, his heart started beating fast in anxiety. He was thinking what would happen? Would my father accept me as his servant or get angry and threw me out from his presence? Bible says while the boy was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. That tells us from the day the body left home in rebellion, this father was always looking for his return. Every day the father was looking for his son’s return. The father was broken over him and longing for his return. You see father had filled with love and compassion for his lost son.
Father running out to his lost son.
Bible says his father ran to his son when he saw him coming a long way off. His father filled with love and compassion, he ran toward him, embraced him and kissed him. He did not get angry or upset with him. He did not criticize him or blamed him. When the son returned, by seeing him a long way off, he ran toward him, embraced and kissed him. Father’s thought was this- son, the day you left home, I was always looking for your return. My heart was broken over you because I loved you. You were always in my mind. I always longed for this day.
Heart of God-your heavenly Father is revealed.
Beloved, why did Jesus say this parable. He said this parable to show you and I the heart of the heavenly father toward a sinner who lives in disobedience, rebellion, and sin. The son said to his father, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.” This is all he could say. Before he says, “Please take me on as a hired servant”, Father cut him off and said this to his servants, “‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ (Verse 22-24).
You see, the son confessed his wrongdoings. However, the father did not want to hear anything more than this. He cut him off. He ordered his servant to bring the finest robe to put on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for the feet. Kill the calf that has been fattening- the best calf. Verse 25 says, “so the party began.”
Jesus said this parable because of tax collectors and notorious sinners were coming to him to listen to him. Beloved, beloved where are you now? Jesus talks to you right now. You see we all stray like sheep. Some of us are lost inside the church. You may have raised in the church. However, later decided to leave the church in pursuit of sin and it’s fleeting pleasure. Remember the pleasure of sin is only temporary –fleeting. It will lead to a place where you ever imagined to end up.
Come Home! God is the perfect father who has mercy, love, and compassion.
Jesus taught through this parable-God is the good father. Some of you may have bad fathers. However, God in heaven who created you is different from all the earthly imperfect fathers. He loves you and has compassion on you. He wants to restore his love and fellowship with you. When you come home, his mercy, forgiveness, and love waits for you. Walking back home to your father in heaven means confessing your sins. It means repentance and turning away from where you are like the lost son did. You can do this by a small prayer wit