And he said, A certain man had two sons: (Luke 15:11 KJV)
I love this chapter. I wish I had it memorized. It begins with Pharisees complaining that Jesus received and ate with sinners. I do believe there are people in churches today who complain about the time a Christian spends with sinners without considering we all are sinners.
But Jesus didn’t tell them how sinful they were, too, He told them about seeking what was lost, then explained what joy there was in heaven when a soul recognized the need for turning their life around – and did so:
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. (Luke 15:10 KJV)
The next example, though, could be discussed until the end of time and we’d continue to find a lesson that applied to our lives. A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. (Luke 15:12 KJV)
He divided his living to both of them – not just giving the one his portion. Did you notice that? One received without asking. From the end of the story we know he stayed and continued working. The younger son left, and we know what he did, too.
I suspect the father knew what was going to happen, but we are not told that he tried to stop him. There’s no indication there was an intervention by the family to make the young man understand what could happen to him. There’s no verses telling us that messages went back and forth. Nothing indicates the father sent servants after him.
The son did have a memory, though it seemed to function when life was at its worst, not when he was having a good time. In a literal pigsty, he remembered his father’s house.
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, (Luke 15:18 KJV)
I do believe that’s what it takes with our Heavenly Father, too. Just a prayer with those words from a contrite heart. We have so much more than a fatted calf waiting for us. We have a home with Him, eternally.
So, will our brothers rejoice as the angels do? Not so much:
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. (Luke 15:28 KJV)
Yes, we are His children. Yes, we read over and over He’s seeking the lost. No, we really don’t want to deal with the sinners that come to the church. We’d prefer to fellowship with those like us, and those sinners aren’t there – yet. Why, they don’t know the order of service; they aren’t familiar with our songs; they don’t dress as we expect; and the list goes on. Perhaps never voiced aloud, but the visitors know, don’t they?
My Bible tells me:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)
What part of that do we not understand when we look at our own lives? We won’t get it perfect until we’re home. Until then, let’s remember this father’s closing words, spoken by our Lord:
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. (Luke 15:32 KJV)