Scripture for Week of April 20-26

Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 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. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

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.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 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!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

 

 

4 replies
  1. Art Fulks
    Art Fulks says:

    One of the toughest questions that I was ever asked about the Bible was concerning this passage. Here it is: “Which one of the characters in this story would you most readily identify with?”

    Dear Todd Winslow…Thanks for not letting me off the hook when reading a familier Bible story, nor assuming that God did not want to speak to each of us (even a group of pastors) through one of the most familiar of biblical texts.

  2. David Bearden
    David Bearden says:

    All of us have, at one time, either been in the place of the younger son or are in his place now. Praise God for revealing His truth through His amazing Spirit:

    “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 1:1-10).

    Praise God for giving us the choice to be found through the blood of Jesus Christ!

    “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.”

  3. Joey Rodgers
    Joey Rodgers says:

    There is no shortage of lessons to be learned in the Parable of the Lost Sons. Yes… I wrote “sons” as both the sons were living independent of their father. In this teaching, Jesus is primarily addressing an audience of Pharisees who are discontent over His speaking with the lowly tax collectors. So Jesus, being Jesus, seized the opportunity to teach us all about grace, forgiveness, lostness, truth, hypocrisy, and Father’s love.

    Jesus points out that there are basically two types of lost people – the REBELLIOUS lost (referring to the tax collectors) people who live oblivious to God or in direct disobedience to the Father’s will. In this particular teaching, the younger son wished his father dead by desiring his inheritance before the proper time. So the rebellious lost would include anyway who seek to live a life independent and indifferent to the Creator. The second group of lost people include the RELIGIOUS lost (referring to the Pharisees and the religious establishment) people who live close to the cross but far from the blood. In this particular context, the Pharisees lived within the limits of their religious pomp and circumstance, yet their hearts were far from God. In many instances, they exhibited an external religious conviction, yet they had not had an internal conversion experience. The scary reality and undercurrent of this teaching is that Jesus telegraphed to the Pharisees that it was more probable that the rebellious lost would come to the end of himself and turn to God than it was that the religious lost would actually repent and discover intimacy with God. WOW!

    A second significant lesson learned in this parable is the process of repentance. In both instances, instead of responding the the father, the sons rebelled and chose a way that seemed right to themselves. Here is a vital spiritual truth – all rebellion leads to ruin (Romans 6:23a). For the younger son, he found himself in a pig sty eating leftovers; but in that moment when conviction and the bottom of the barrel collided, he “came to his senses.” He realized there was a better option that began with his repentance and return to the father. So he got up and began the long, humbling journey home where he planned to throw himself on the mercy of his father. We see in the process that the son was willing to make restitution and face the retribution which are both signs of genuine repentance. And of course, before he can arrive home, the watching father runs to him, embraces him, and restores his son to sonship.

    An amazing lesson for us all.

  4. Katie Sherman
    Katie Sherman says:

    When reading this passage I think of Tim Keller’s excellent book, The Prodigal God. The book describes the two brothers, “each of whom represents a different way to be alienated from God, and a different way to seek acceptance into the kingdom of heaven.” Both are equally lost from his perspective. Keller writes that Jesus is “on the side of neither the irreligious nor the religious, but he singles out religious moralism as a particularly deadly spiritual condition.” He goes on to say that “Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day.” I know my response does not have much original thought but Keller’s interpretation of this passage of scripture as outlined in this short book spoke to me personally. So I’ll end with one more quote from the book, “In this parable Jesus says to us, Would you please be open to the possibility that the gospel, real Christianity, is something very different from religion?”

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