Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Prodigal Sons

We spent the previous weekend in Mussouri, the foothills of the Himalayas. The weekend was a beautiful get away as we were able to experience God’s creation with hours of trekking all around the area. The place we stayed was located on a high bluff that provided a beautiful panoramic view of the sunrise.
After hiking the mountain and several intensely steep hills that took our breath away and made us feel incredibly out of shape, we reached a lookout with breathtaking view. We were blessed with two delightfully clear days that enabled a vivid display of the snow capped Himalayas, a variety of vegetation and vibrant flowers. On Sunday, Brent and I hiked up the mountain and found another open area to have church. We were able to have some great teaching this weekend as we listened to a pastor from NYC. He spoke on the Prodigal Son, rather instructing that is should be called the Prodigal Sons.
Three types of people:
The younger brother, the older brother , and how we should be.
The parable illustrates two ways humans try to make themselves right:
moral conformity-(older brother)people work hard/ make themselves submit. To the older brother type/Pharisee, Jesus may be a rewarded, protector, but not saviour bc the other brother type is his own savior by avoiding sin, he tries to control God through his obedience...doing all the good and moral things to get what he wants out of God, but not God Himself. He believes God owes him bc of his goodness.
self discovery- (younger brother) people live how they want to live.

Both sons were acting how they were wanting the things of the father, but not the father to point of wishing the father dead. Both wrong. The original hears would have been astounded. If one had two sons and died, the other brother would get 2/3 and the younger would get 1/3. The oldest got a double portion of all the other kids, but that happened upon the death of the father. So, when the younger brother asked for his portion, it was as if he was wishing his father dead---“I want the father’s things, but not the father”.
In v 29, the older son doesn’t call his father “father”, but rather “look” direct address to father, but “look you”...publicly insulting his father by not going to the biggest feast his father has ever thrown and publicly humiliates his father by refusing to call him father related the disgust of his father’s displayed love to the younger brother and the cost of the party.

It all comes down to motivation:
The Pharisees/ religious people obey to get things
The Christian/gospel person obeys God to get God

Jesus says we need three things.
1. We need the initiating love of the father: father goes out to both sons to bring them in. The father kisses the younger son before repentance. The kiss initiates repentance, not the repentance initiating the kiss. God seeks us first.
Father goes out to the older brother and pleads him to come in.

2. We need to learn how to repent for more than sin, but also for the reasons we do right
3. We need to be melted and moved by what it costs to bring us home. It costs a lot for the younger brother to be back in the family. The older brother had to pay a lot for the little brother to come back into the family. (all the riches left were technically his, so all the party given to the younger son had to be pain by the older brother). Someone always has to pay for the salvation. A true older brother would have seen the father’s agony and longing for the lost son and gone out to look for the younger brother, even at his own expense. Our true older brother, Jesus, came from heaven to earth to save us. We need an older brother that will come for us for more than the cost of his wallet, but at the cost of His life. On the cross Jesus Christ willingly offered Himself. He was stripped so we could be clothed with a robe of honor that we don’t deserve. He brings us home to the enormous expense of himself.

Jesus redefines God:
God the Father. Jesus is the first person to call God “Father”. Jesus addresses God as “Father” every time in the Bible except once. The one time Jesus doesn’t is when He is hanging on the cross. He then calls Him “My God, My God” because He was not treated as a son so that we could be. There, He paid the debt we know we owe. He, Jesus, had everything that the Father, God, had, but gave it up, bringing us home at His enormous expense.

Sorry so long, but I just loved the description of the Parable and wanted to share it. Compared to my previous knowledge of the parable, it was such an amazing light to the story. What a blessing to have free access to the living Word.


Plattner said...

We listened to the same sermon a couple years ago. Keller wrote a book called "Prodigal God" about this sermon. Very recommended, hi to the Lemans for us.