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The Parable about
the Lost Son


Luke 15:11-32

Service Notes

LUKE 15:1-3, 11-32
     1.  All the tax collectors and sinners came to Jesus to listen to HIM.
     2.  But the Jewish Law teachers and Church teachers complained and said, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
     3.  Now Jesus told a story....
    11.  Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons.  The young son said to the father,
    12.  'Father, give-me my share of your things that I will inherit.'  Now the father divided his things between the two boys.
    13.  A few days later the young son sold all his things, leaved from home and went to a far country, and spent all his money on pleasure living.
    14.  Happened he finished spending all his money, a terrible hunger came over that country, and the boy became hungry.
    15.  Now the young boy searched for work with the people of that country, and one man sent him to work feeding the pigs.
    16.  The young boy was-happy to eat the same food with the pigs because no one gave him anything to eat.
    17.  Then he began to think.  Many of the workers on my fathers farm have enough food, and here I am hungry to death.  I will go again to my father and say,
    18.  'Father, I sinned against heaven and against you.
    19.  I don't deserve to be-named your son anymore.  Please make me one of your servants.'
    20.  Now the young boy began leaving for home.  While he was still far from home, his father saw him and the father felt sorry for him.  The father ran and hugged his son and kissed him.
    21.  The son said, 'Father, I sinned against heaven and against you.  I don't deserve to be-named your son anymore.  Please make me one of your servants.'
    22.  The father told the servants, 'Quick, bring a robe, the best robe, and put-it-on the boy, bring a ring for his finger and shoes for his feet.
    23.  And bring the fat calf, kill it, and we will eat and celebrate.
    24.  This son of mine was-dead and is now alive.  My son was-lost and I found him.'  And they began to celebrate.
    25.  Now the older son was out in the field.  Happened he came home near the house, he heard music and dancing.
    26.  The older son called one of the servants and asked, 'What is happening here?'
    27.  The servant said, 'Your brother is home and your father killed the fat calf because your brother is home safe and healthy.'
    28.  Then the older brother was-angry and refused to enter the house.  The father came outside and begged him.
    29.  But the older son answered the father, 'Many years I worked for you same-as a servant and never disobeyed your commands, and you never gave-me a small goat to celebrate with my friends.
    30.  But happens that son of yours came home, he wasted all your things with pleasure living, you killed the fat calf for him.'
    31.  The father said, 'Son, you are always with me and everything I have is yours.
    32.  But we must celebrate and be-happy.  This brother of yours was-dead and is now alive.  Your brother was-lost and we found him.'"

 

Father = 

Younger Son = 

Older Son = 

Application = 

We scheduled this lesson for Father's Day, which coincidentally was Trinity Sunday.
This is the third of three parables which Jesus told in response to criticism from Pharisees (Luke 15:1-2)


The Father              = God
The Younger Son  = sinners / wanderers (us)

Imagine one of our kids asking this...
"Father, give-me my share of your things that I will inherit."

Understand what the boy is saying:
"Father, I wish you were dead, because I want you things NOW!"

If our kids ask that, what will we answer?  "NO!"  Then we will go see our lawyer and remove that bum from our will.  We could already see that we can't trust him with his inheritance.

But the father in this story doesn't do that.
That Father willingly sells 1/3 of his property and gives the the money to his rebellious son.*
(*Under Jewish law the oldest son receives double the inheritance of his brothers.  So in this story, the older son receives 2/3 and the younger son receives 1/3.)

Question:
If the father in this story = God, then what does that mean for us?

Answer:
When we make stupid decisions, God won't always protect us.
When we act foolishly, God will let us experience the CONSEQUENCES.

Is that the way God punishes us?
No, that is the way God show mercy to us!

When our kids get into trouble that is bigger than they can manage, we tend to jump in and save them.

If our kids go to jail, we pay BAIL to get them out.

But God's love is TOUGH LOVE.
He knows that we won't wake up
    until we feel the full pain for our bad decisions.

And the father in this story is willing to lose his things if that will help his son learn a hard lesson.

You see, wants the father's stuff
    without a relationship with the father
    without accountability to the father

We tend to do the same with God.
Notice our we pray,
    "Give me..."
    "You do for me..."
Do we remember to pray
    "Myself I give You... to do for You..."?

The father in this story already knows his son's rebellious heart.
The father doesn't give his son his wealth
    so his son will be his "friend."
No, the father is willing to let his son go learn his lessons the hard way.

The rebellious son enjoyed the world's pleasures.
But quickly he learned that the pleasure that the world gives
    is shallow and short.
The world cannot satisfy our soul's deep hunger and thirst.

When the son woke up, and saw his mistake,
    he not felt hungry, tired, and dirty,
        dreaming about home.

He felt ashamed.

When the son looked at the faces of those pigs,
    he felt like he was looking at a mirror.
        That was his face.

The son planned what he wanted to tell his father.

Notice what the son did NOT say.
He did not invent EXCUSES for himself, like...

    "I was young and stupid."
    "Give me another chance."
    "I promise that I will...."

He didn't say any of those things.
He admitted his guilt.
He did not try to defend himself.

The son knew that he did not deserve his father's love and mercy.

He said:
"Father, I sinned against heaven and against you. 
I don't deserve to be-named your son anymore. 
Please make me one of your servants."

Then notice what he did:  He went back to the father.

And see what the Father did: 
Before the son had a chance to apologize,
    the father ignored the smell of pigs,
        and Dad hugged and kissed his dirty son.

Then Dad threw a party.

Now the story could end happily here.  But it doesn't.

The Older Son = good religious folk, church goers

Jesus extends his story,
    focusing his attention on attitude of the Pharisees,
        representing them in the older son.

Notice the father's response to his older son.
    Again, no rebuke.  Only compassion [sign: kind].
    and his desire that the older son share compassion for his younger brother.

SO WHAT?
What is the point for us today?

Three things.

First, God our Father in Heaven wants US to share His love, His concern, and His compassion for people who have rebelled against him
    both people wasting their lives in the world's pleasures,
    and people living like pigs in their own dirt.

No one is "too far,"
No one is "too lost" for God's love.

Remember why Jesus told this story.
Religious leaders criticized Jesus
    because He had fellowship with dirty sinners,

The second point is:  WE are those dirty sinners.
Jesus came to become our friend and our brother.
Jesus became dirty for us.
He became dirty with our sin,
and He suffered our punishment on the cross.

Remember how the father in the story welcomed his son home and ordered new clean clothes for his son.

The Bible says that He has ordered "new clean clothes" for our souls, too -- He covers us in Christ's holy character.
Jesus' sacrifice makes us pure.

The third point:
In those times we wander away from our Father in Heaven,
in those times we find ourselves escaping
    to the world's pleasures, or living like pigs,
we can always return to our Father.

Don't fear His anger -- that's finished.
While you stay away, He grieves for you.
When you return, He welcomes you and forgives you.

Come home to your Father.


Parables Index