The Parable of the Prodigal Son
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And 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. 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.
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.”‘ 20 And he arose and came to his father. 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,’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.
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.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. 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!’ 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.'” – Luke 15:11-32
Honestly facing ourselves in one of the hardest steps we can ever take. Admitting that I need help, something is wrong in my life is very difficult. We are trained for self-protection and preservation – not self-evaluation.
A very familiar story illustrates what happens when we face ourselves honestly.
- Normally, we use this passage to inform the unsaved of God’s love regardless of how deeply they have sunken into sin. The truth is found here, and it is beautiful. There is another truth that we will add to the first truth.
- While one brother came to himself and made improvements, the other brother maintained his righteous pride and lived in misery. The truth is simple. Making the most of our lives comes from an honest appraisal of our true condition.
The Faulty Appraisal of the Younger Brother
He thought that the problem was with his home and parents. Many assume that the Christian life is too boring. The younger brother had a faulty concept of the true problem.
His look into the distance was faulty. The far country looked great from a distance. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
He assumed that the people over there had the answers to life. He soon discovered that was not true. What had looked and sounded so good from a distance became garbage up close. He also learned that those he thought would be good friends were self-absorbed.
Correct Decisions by the Younger Brother (v. 17)
He made three decisions:
- He decided that the pigpen was a terrible way of life. Something had to be better.
- He took the first step to correct the situation (v. 18)
- The bad things of a good life are better than the best things in a bad life
After making an honest appraisal he knew that it was time for him to act (v. 20). His father could not come into his environment, but he could leave and go home.
The positive results of his decisions are obvious (vv. 20-24). He found that the good life comes from personal introspection and change.
Faulty Perspective of the Elder Brother
He was as miserable in his self-righteousness as his younger brother was in his sinful lifestyle. He could represent a lot of church people. He had a more difficult time facing his needs that his brother did in facing his. He never did anything outrageous – no prostitutes, no pigpen.
His problem was two fold. A person cannot love others and still act he did (v. 28). He had too much self-love (v. 29).
He assumed that the father should not love his wayward brother. Genuine love never shoots its wounded.
The greatest tragedy of this story is the elder brother’s failure to come to himself. He missed the celebration because of his attitude.
- When we come to ourselves our Heavenly Father celebrates.
- Jesus was sent by the father to speak to our hearts today so that we do not need to miss the heavenly celebration.
- Today, make an honest appraisal of yourself and accept His grace so that you can enjoy the celebration.
You can print a copy of “Prodigal Son – Facing Yourself” by clicking here.