Luke 15:20-32 So he got up and started back to his father. "He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him. (21) 'Father,' the son said, 'I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.' (22) But the father called to his servants. 'Hurry!' he said. 'Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. (23) Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! (24) For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.' And so the feasting began. (25) "In the meantime the older son was out in the field. On his way back, when he came close to the house, he heard the music and dancing. (26) So he called one of the servants and asked him, 'What's going on?' (27) 'Your brother has come back home,' the servant answered, 'and your father has killed the prize calf, because he got him back safe and sound.' (28) The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in. (29) But he spoke back to his father, 'Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends! (30) But this son of yours wasted all your property on prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!' (31) 'My son,' the father answered, 'you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. (32) But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.' "
Eph 4:13-15 And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature. (14) Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. (15) Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.
Feb 21 2021
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
Luke 15:1-2 One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, (2) the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, "This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!"
So behind this criticism
is what is called
The idea that you have to earn God’s love.
The people that Jesus welcomed hadn’t earned anything,
all they did was welcome Jesus’ invitation to eat with them.
And so the religious leaders believed that this Rabbi Jesus, can’t be of God.
If he was he would obey the rules.
In response he tells three parables.
The third parable is about the loving father
and last week we looked at how
the younger son rejects his father
but finally finds himself in the father’s arms.
He was going to play the meritocracy game.
Just give me a job dad, and I’ll pay you back!
But before he can
the father embraces him and kisses him
and in that embrace of love
the son’s heart is broken.
He discovers for the first time
the heart of the father
and then of course he is automatically restored to full sonship
and dad throws a party.
Important note: the party is the father’s joy in which the son will share,
it is not for the son per se, it is the father’s party.
So then today we have the older son
who is coming in from the field
and he hears the party going on
and asks a servant what’s happening
and the servant replies:
Luke 15:27 'Your brother has come back home,' 'and your father has killed the prize
calf, because he got him back safe and sound.'
For prize calf read –the extravagant joy of the Father.
Luke 15:28 “The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so
his father came out and begged him to come in.”
Again, this would not happen in that culture.
The son‘s refusal to enter the house is the height of disregard for the Father. The son
would be considered by the other guests to be beyond rudeness.
Secondly no one would expect the father to go out to him.
But again as the father did with the younger son,
so the father is making a fool of himself by going out and begging the son to come in.
The son’s response is: Luke 15:29-30 all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends! (30) But this son of yours wasted all your property on prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!'
There is an interesting touch here.
The younger son, Jesus had said, wasted his money on reckless living,
the older son exaggerates the younger sons behaviour and says:
“He wasted your property on prostitutes.”
Does Jesus put this in deliberately to remind us that we do exaggerate when we want
to punish someone.
Luke 15:31-32 'My son,' the father answered, 'you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. (32) But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.'"
And the parable ends there.
There is no happy conclusion
the younger son was found
through the father’s love for him
the older son
again can only be found with the discovery of the father’s love.
We don’t know if the son comes in to the party
The Father cannot make him.
The Father can only love him
and wait for him to be transformed by that love.
God cannot make you and I enter into His joy
God can only love us
and await our response to love.
The party is always there
the invitation is given.
We either surrender to it
or stay outside muttering about those who
have surrendered to love,
I suggest there are four identities in the parable.
There is the older son who represents the religious establishment.
These weren’t bad people.
They were hard working
they kept the laws of God
they were diligent in protecting right behaviour.
They don’t like people getting away with anything.
There is the younger son who represents.
the people Jesus was welcoming and who were happy to eat with him
and who found joy in Jesus presence.
There is the outrageous Father in the story who goes radically out of his way to
communicate his love for both children,
who represents Jesus, and by extension, God.
Then there is the invisible group
as in all Jesus interactions.
They are neither the religious elite, nor do they consider themselves,
So just out of interest this morning
something different if you’re up to it.
Form little groups
maybe four people and
talk about which of the characters in the parable
you most identify with and why.
There are no right or wrong answers.
Or if you want to just sit quietly on your own and think do that.
Well – was that fun or was that fun?
Anyone identify with the older brother?
The younger brother?
The crowd – watching and wondering?
Personally, I guess I have been all four characters in my life time.
I’ve been the lost child, longing to know the Father
I’ve been self righteous –how dare this or that person have so much fun being a
I’ve been part of the crowd confused by
Christians debating who has the truth.
And in moments of pure Grace of God
and I mean moments, I have even allowed my heart to be broken
by the things I believe break the heart of God – which I believe is the goal for all of us,
only to be the older son again, or lost.
Maybe this is what Christian growth
or as the apostle Paul wrote
growing up into Christ who is the head.
Maybe it’s two steps forward and one step back
or one step forward and twosteps back.
Here is something I have often thought about.
Both sons lived in the father’s house, ate at the father’s table,
enjoyed the safety provided
yet neither knew the father or understood the father’s motivation, the Father’s love for
Can we live in the church, the Father’s house all our lives
and not know the Father’s heart – the heart of God?
Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and
glory, world without end. Amen
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