The Prodigal Son
July 1, 2021
I have often looked at the parable of the prodigal son and wondered which of the three people in the parable represent me. There was a father and his two sons. Each one had a very different makeup. I think each one of us is represented in either the prodigal son, the older son, or the father.
The focus starts out on the prodigal son. There is no doubt that he was self-centered. He cared nothing about his duty or his responsibility. He was a carnal, selfish person. He was all about himself. Many of us start out this way.
Then there was the older brother. He took responsibility and worked hard on the farm. He was the good boy who never got the recognition that he thought he deserved.
There was also the father. Oh, the father! He was everything that the sons lacked. He represents love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, kindness, and oh, so much more.
If we can see with spiritual eyes, we will discern so much beyond the surface. All three of these people showed who they were on the inside by the outward.
The prodigal came to a decision. He was done with his life. He knew that he would perish the way he was going. Then he thought of his father. Maybe, just maybe, the father would have compassion on him, so he did what all of us need to do. HE TURNED AROUND. HE REPENTED. He had a change of heart that brought a change in his life. He was completely unprepared for the depth of the fathers love.
The problem with the older son was the opposite. He never had a change of heart. He achieved a good bit more in his own strength than his younger brother did, but it benefited him nothing. All that he had to offer was his own goodness - and it was completely inadequate. All of our goodness is. Without a transformed heart, we will be like the older brother.
The father is everything that the carnal man cannot be. He represents our Heavenly Father. He is what Jesus was while here on earth. He represents the God of all grace. If we come to the end of ourselves, like the prodigal did in that pigpen, and turn around and go to the Father, we will get the same reception that that poor sinner did—exceeding, and abundantly above all we can ask or even think.
If we are like the older brother, toiling, working away, but angry at the injustice of not having our own goodness recognized, then we need a new heart, something that no amount of effort will ever achieve. A new heart can only be achieved by laying down our own goodness and coming to the Father. We must all come to the decision in the pigpen...or on the farm.
God will save and transform the prodigal as well as the good person, but as we can see in the parable, it is harder for a good person to be saved.
Today Lord, we are thankful that you come running to meet us when we simply turn around. We are not worthy to be called your sons. We have spent our times in foolish living like the young son did. But oh, the love You have for us when we turn around! And if we are like the other brother, God we need your help to have our eyes opened. You opened the eyes of the blind, please do it again. Show us our need. Show us how utterly undone we are without a transformed new heart. Above all, Lord, we want to be like You, like the father was in this parable—something that we have no hope of becoming in our own effort. We need You to change us. Thank you Lord, for your goodness to us. Amen.
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