Joke: Any child can tell you the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he is in trouble.
Prop: a poster of the return of the Prodigal Son
Summary: Even when we are bad, God loves us and is waiting for us to ask his forgiveness and come home.
Have you ever been a bad boy or girl? How did you know when you were being bad? Did your parents punish you? Jesus told a parable of a bad boy. It is recorded in Luke 15:11-32. This is what happened in the story.
A man had two sons. The younger son wanted his father to give him his share of the inheritance. The father gave it to him, but he left home and journeyed to a far country and wasted his money on extravagant living and partying. About the time he had spent all his money, none of the crops would grow in the land as a result of a mighty famine. The younger son had nothing to eat, so he went to work as a hired servant. He had a very lowly job: feeding pigs. He barely made enough money to eat. When he came to himself, he realized that even his father’s servants had plenty to eat and were better off than he was. He made up his mind that he would return home and beg the forgiveness of his father, hoping to be taken back as only a hired servant. But as he returned, his loving father was already looking for him to return and saw him when he was yet a great way off. His father ran out to meet him and hugged him.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But his father, upon hearing these words, restored his son to his estate before he left. He gave him the best robe, a ring signifying his authority as a son, and new shoes on his feet. Then they prepared a feast and had a big party. For this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost and is found. Now the older son had been working hard in the field and heard the commotion at the house. He was very angry when he found out what was happening. He had always obeyed his father and had not even been given a small party with his friends. But his father told him, Son, thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine. He told the older son that it was right to rejoice because his younger brother had changed his ways, he had been forgiven and was alive again.
This story is one of the most well-known of Jesus’ parables and is called the Prodigal Son. I think a better title would be Our Loving Father because the outcome of everything in the story depends on how the father reacts to his wayward son. The father could have refused to even see his son again after he left home and squandered his living. Upon his return, the father could have hired him back as a servant for the rest of his life to teach him a lesson. Instead, we see a loving father that waits for his son to come to his senses, and realize his mistake, and return home.
We have all sinned, or been disobedient to God. Does God hold grudges against us? No, he is merciful and willing to forgive us when we repent. He delights when we come alive again spiritually and come back into fellowship with him. He loves those that obey him too. He is loving and merciful to a sinner that seeks forgiveness. If we have been bad, we need to turn from being bad and return to following God.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.