We are going to dive right into the deep water.
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 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. 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. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “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! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 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. 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.’ 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. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 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.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 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. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’ ”
•Tax collectors and sinners – These were the outcasts of society, the unclean, and those far from God.
•Were all drawing near… - In large number, they were approaching Jesus to listen to his teaching.
•The Pharisees and scribes were part of the elite religious establishment. They were the teachers of Israel
•Grumble - murmuring, which means they were complaining among themselves about Jesus.
•Saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.” - This teacher, rabbi, leader who is claiming to be God’s Messiah receives sinners and eats with them.
•Why would they be making this complaint? One, it was true. Jesus was known to be around the rabble or society. Second, the Pharisees had a text and tradition they were trying to obey (Ex. ).
•So he told them a parable – an earthly story that communicates a spiritual truth or reality in a simple manner.
•He tells three stories. They are the lost sheep, lost coin and the lost son.
•And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. – This story is called the prodigal son, but there is more to it than the younger son as we are learning.
•Reminder: Jesus is telling the religious leaders why he receives sinners. There is one main point
•We have been approaching this parable differently, because it is longer and more expansive.
•Rebellious, Younger Son (15:11-16)
•Redeeming, Loving Father (15:17-24)
•Resistant, Older Son (15:25-32)
•There was a man who had two sons
1.The younger son disrespects the father by asking for his inheritance before his father is dead.
2.The father grants the request.
3.The son liquidates his ownings and travels to a foreign country
4.He lives scandalously and frivolously. He spends everything.
5.A severe famine occurs and the son experiences lack.
6.The son hires himself out to a citizen in the far country.
7.He is told to care for pigs.
8.He eventually desires to have the slop he fed the swine.
9. He is alone without any help.
1.The younger son came to his senses and began to think properly.
2.The younger son recalled the blessing of the father’s presence.
3.The younger son intends to return.
4.The younger son is humbled.
5.The younger son returns home.
6.The younger son confesses to the father.
7.The father fully receives the son.
8.The father fully restores the son to his proper place.
9.The father rejoices in the son’s return.
•Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house – The elder son was out working on the estate. After his day’s work was completed, he returns home.
•He heard music and dancing – As he approaches the house, he notices a sound. It’s a tune and feet stomping. He is puzzled as to what he hears. After all, he has not planned a party.
•And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant – In order to learn what is going on, he asks one of the hired workers. Why is there a party taking place?
•And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come – The servant reports the news to the older brother plainly. Your younger brother has returned. He is back.
•And your father has killed the fattened calf – In addition, your dad has order that the special animal reserved for unique times of celebration be prepared for a feast. Why?
•Because he has received him back safe and sound – That which was lost is now found. That which was in peril is now dwelling in a protected state. He is whole and here in peace. He is in the father’s good will.
•But he was angry… – In response, the elder son boycotts the celebration. This action is against the returning brother, the household and the father!!!
•His father came out and entreated him – Once again, the father reveals his graceful heart. He seeks out the older son and tries to understand why he is outside and will not come in. He is seeking to bring comfort.
•But he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you – Since I was able, I worked like a hired worker. We can observe that the older son saw his relationship with the father contractually.
•And I never disobeyed… – I have not omitted to do what you wanted or committed to do something you did not want. I have been faithful to you in my duties. I have been a good son.
•Yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate… – Even though I have been a good son, you have never given me a mere small animal to feast on with my friends.
•But when this son of yours came – Not, my brother, but this son of yours. You can sense the older brother’s hardness of heart by his unwillingness to accept his brother or celebrate with his father.
•Who has devoured your property with prostitutes… - The one who is unworthy or in other words, “the one who is not me and has not been doing what I have been doing. you killed the fattened calf for him!
•And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours – This is the point. The older son always had the father and the entire estate at his disposal. Yet, he does not appreciate it.
•It was fitting to celebrate and be glad… - My response to the return of my lost son is completely appropriate, proper and expected given the situation. There is no problem with my actions.
1.The older son was distant from the father though he was physically near.
2.The older son did not respect or love his father as revealed by his actions.
3.The older son was the same as the younger son in dishonoring the father, though the approach was different.
4.The older son hated the grace of the father.
•A story with no ending? Well, what happened? Jesus does this on purpose. He is leaving it to the Pharisees to write the proper ending. What would they do?
Sin and rebellion is tricky wicked. It seeks to destroy us any way it can; Raw, dark, oozing rebellion or smooth, slithering, self-righteous religion and everything in between.
Our heavenly father is seeking all types of sinners to come home from their rebellion.
It is fitting that God would celebrate the wonder of his rescuing sinners from sure destruction.
Do we love the extravagant grace of our heavenly Father? His grace is grace that cannot be earned or deserved, but is given freely with great joy.
How will you write the rest of your story? Grace or grumbling??