Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Wednesday - the Prodigal son

Prayer:  Almighty God,  as we live out our life,  remind us to always put You first.   Amen.
Luke 15: 11 – 13

And Jesus tells a third parable of  being lost and found.   This is the parable of the Lost Son.   The Parable of the  Prodigal Son.      This parable is jam packed with thoughts.    Jesus begins to tell of a father who had two sons.  Good so far.   The younger son said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate”. (NIV  Luke 15: 12 Zondervan, 1983).   Wait a minute.   The father was still living!   There was no estate yet.    Jesus’ listeners must be thinking,  “what an impudent son!   How rude not only to ask his father to give him money but he didn’t ask his older brother!”.        In Judaism,  the oldest son always received a blessing before the father died and then the oldest son became head of the household.  The oldest son held authority over all other brothers and sisters.  Plain and simple.  Yet here is the youngest son asking his father for his father’s monies. 

Then,  equally as surprising,  the father agrees to give his youngest son a portion of the estate.    What amount does the father give to the son?   Half.    Half of his property.   In Judaism,  the younger son might have received a third of the estate…. but to receive half?  Goodness.  

As Jesus is telling this parable,  his listeners must have been thinking, “Houston,  we have a problem!”     The younger son now has monies he isn’t entitled to as the father is still alive.  The father must now provide for his household with only half of his former funding.   The eldest son stays home and sees his inheritance  marching down the road with his younger brother, the rebel.   

What does it say in the Laws about  rebellious sons?    Deuteronomy 21: 18 – 21 states that if a father has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother,  then the father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders.  The elders will listen to the father and if the son does not repent and continues being rebellious,  the elders will gather the men of the town to stone the rebellious son to death.      What does the father in this parable do that is different than the laws?   The father freely  gives his estate to his rebellious son. 

The father freely gives half of his estate  to his son.  The estate would be not only money but goats, sheep,  servants,  and land.    With great speed,  the youngest son marches off for a distant country.   The youngest son begins to squander all his wealth.   

Jesus told this parable in answer to the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus was eating with the riff-raff of society—those who were not acceptable into the society of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  Jesus was eating with Tax Collectors and others -- the riff-raff of society that had turned away from God.  And Jesus was reminding them that they can come home and be with God.

Today,  meditate and ask yourself if you are like the youngest son?  Have we ever turned away from the gifts God has given us?  Have we squandered the love that God has freely given to us thinking our ways were better?   Have we forgotten to rely fully each day upon God?
Prayer:   Creator God,  may we use the gifts that you have given to us with joy and praise.   May we fully rely upon You each and every day.   This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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