We are so blessed that God is in control. What would happen if our country would become as concerned about our spiritual needs as we are about the Coronavirus.
May God remove from us any spirit of distraction and let us turn our face towards Him to hear what He has for us tonight. May he also take away any spirit of fear we may have in our hearts. Jesus wants to give us a peace that passes all understanding.
Luke 15 – Jesus tells a number of parables in this chapter. He taught these parables in response to the Pharisees who were criticizing Him for eating with and talking with sinners.
First Jesus tells them about the lost sheep. The lost sheep was lost possibly through carelessness or stubbornness. For whatever reason he was separated from the flock. He found himself alone, far from the shepherd and far from the flock. Sheep are not terribly intelligent, and this sheep couldn’t find his way back home. Maybe it was the sheep fault that he was lost, but he definitely needed help to get back.
Next Jesus tells them about the lost coin. Obviously the coin didn’t have anything to do with its getting lost. The coin neither knew that it was lost nor did it care that it was lost, he certainly didn’t have a remedy for his condition.
Thirdly Jesus uses this parable of the lost son. This lost son found himself separated from his father. He was lost because of his own stubbornness and rebellion. He was separated from his father, and had an independent, proud heart. He knew fully what he was doing, perhaps he didn’t know the full consequences of the decision but he knew what he was doing.
In contrast to the other two stories that Jesus used, this young man knew the way back home. He knew that going home meant turning 180 degrees around and going the other direction. A very change of heart.
There is a second son in this story as well, he was lost as well. Perhaps Jesus was talking directly to the Pharisees with this son.
Jesus may have been trying to cover the spectrum of all that were listening when he told this parable (and the others before it). It is likely that Jesus wanted everyone that was listening to Him to be able to associate with them where they were.
Jesus was seemingly not concerned with being “contaminated” by the sinners. The Pharisees really didn’t like this, so they criticized Jesus.
Obviously the Gentiles and sinners that heard Jesus were lost. Many of them probably knew they were lost, some possibly didn’t. Those who were accusing Jesus of associating with these sinners, perhaps they didn’t know that they were in the same boat, just as lost as these sinners and Gentiles they were so afraid of.
In this story, as we’ve mentioned, we have two sons. It seems like Jesus wanted to make a definite point about this thing of two sons. Although Jesus focuses primarily on the first son who rebelled, the other son is definitely an important part of this story.
The prodigal son demands his inheritance. It certainly seems brazen to us to ask for an inheritance while a parent is still living. The Jews had their way to divide an inheritance. The people knew how this was “supposed” to work. This was not “the normal” or “correct” thing for a son to do, especially not the younger son.
So, what do we see in this young mans heart? First of all there is disrespect, but there was a heart of rebellion, an independent heart. I want what belongs to me. I have a right. Please give me what is mine. Independence. Selfishness. Pride.
And so this son receives what is his, and he separates himself and goes to a far country. It seems that his intent was to put a great distance between him and his father, the authority in his life. Perhaps he thought life would be easier and more doable on his own, away from this authority figure.
He succeeded in putting distance between himself and his father, but he walked directly into a trap of the devil. He was no more free than he was before, Satan had the keys to his life and he was in total bondage. He wasn’t even able to control his spending and activities. They controlled him.
Think again about how this all started in the garden of Eden. What is this thing about sin? Adam and Eve were created to have perfect and total communion with God. They were given everything they could possibly need. The garden was perfect, there was nothing they needed, they were totally dependent on God.
Adam and Eve only had one commandment! Wouldn’t that be neat? Just to have one rule? The ignoring of that one commandment, the only commandment they had, carried with it unimaginable consequences. That disobedience brought death on them and on the rest of us as well.
At that moment death came on Adam and Eve. Their physical bodies would die, in that moment they began to get older and their bodies began to die.
Simple obedience and trust was all that He asked of them. It was in that area that Satan attacked them. Satan has been doing this ever since. Eve doubted what God had said and believed what Satan said. This is what sin is, believing Satan and doubting what God says.
We are born into death. Judgment and condemnation is on all men. By one mans disobedience we were all made sinners.
Romans 7:24 – What am I doing? I can’t even do what I want to do, I don’t have the power.
This is a sad picture where we are leaving this young man. He is so deceived, he is so wrong, he is so blinded. In one way or another we have all had characteristics of this younger son. We’ve all had the characteristics of a sinner. We have been independent, rebellious, separating ourselves from God.
We all need to recognize that we are a sinner and that we need a savior.
It is important for us to understand salvation and God’s grace. It is also important for us to understand our lost condition without God. Without recognition of our sin we cannot be reconciled to God.
There is good news. There is a way back home. The story of the prodigal son shows us that. We can decide if we’re going to continue on away from God or come back to Him.