one lost son
Why was the older brother so upset with the reception his younger brother received from the father? (Luke 15:25-32). At this point in your life, are you most like the father, the older brother, or the younger son?
Why didn’t the father stop his son from leaving home and ruining his young life? What would you have done?
This story of the prodigal son is one of the most famous and familiar of Jesus’ parables. And the most personal. For it touches an area that is often the most painful—our children.
In the parables of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7) and lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), the emphasis is on the lostness and the relentless efforts of the owners to recover what was lost (Luke 15:4,8). The sheep was lost due to its natural propensity or weakness to stray; the coin through carelessness. But the son was lost because of his own willful sinfulness (Luke 15:11-13).
Instead of a seeking shepherd and a searching woman, we have a waiting father. The aggrieved father did not relentlessly pursue his wayward son. Instead, he patiently waited for the son to return. Undoubtedly, the father had perseveringly prayed for his son to come “to his senses” (Luke 15:17).
The turnaround came when the son willed to “go home to [his] father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you’” (Luke 15:18). The son also took deliberate steps to come home: “So he returned home to his father” (Luke 15:20).
Why didn’t the father go and search for his lost son? The first two stories made it clear that Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). But this third story of the prodigal son emphasizes the responsibility of the lost—the need for us to repent. The longsuffering Father patiently and lovingly waits for us to return home. “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” (Luke 15:20). The son’s guilty sinfulness is overshadowed only by the Father’s gracious forgiveness.
Have you willfully left home? Come back to your senses!
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Deuteronomy 29:1-29
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