Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Parable of the Prodigal

When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!’ ” (Luke 15:17).

The story of the Prodigal Son is one of the most beloved of Jesus’ parables. It is the third parable Jesus told to the Pharisees to reprove them for their hard attitude toward the “publicans and sinners.” In this parable, He shows them how God feels about sinners who repent, and how they should also feel.

Remember that the Prodigal Son left his father’s house, taking his inheritance. Away from his father’s watchful eye, he squandered his wealth in riotous living. Soon reduced to poverty, he managed to find work feeding pigs, an unclean animal according to Mosaic law.

Finally, we read that “he came to his senses.” That phrase indicates that this man had been lost—not just lost from God—but lost from himself. Such people do not understand themselves and have no direction in life. They are riding the rollercoaster of life, moving from one party to another, from one affair to another. When this happens, a person tends to lose his sense of identity and integrity.

We human beings have the amazing ability to deceive ourselves. We rationalize, make up excuses, and say we will change tomorrow. God brought circumstances into the life of the Prodigal Son that woke him up. Suddenly he realized what had happened to him. That awakening was the most critical event in his life.

The Prodigal Son journeyed home. His father received him with joy and killed the fatted calf to celebrate. However, the older brother was not rejoicing. He became angry and refused to go to the feast. He focused on the past sins of his brother rather than on his repentance. The father told him that rejoicing was necessary “because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (v. 32). The message was sent and received; the Pharisees realized they were acting like the older brother.

Often we get angriest at those closest to us. Are you refusing to forgive a relative who sinned against you, but who has since repented? Such an attitude will keep you from full fellowship with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and to show you the people you need to forgive, so you, too, can partake of the feast of the kingdom.