The Prodigal Sons
Who is the audience and what is the setting?
What is their culture?
Jesus in this moment shows He is the embodied human heart of God who longs for His wayward children to return.
Luke 15:11-32 NIV
“Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ””
What is the story being told?
God not only likes the wayward person but He passionately loves no matter how far we run away.
This love is so big it makes you lose your good sense and set aside dignity.
“Being a son or daughter of God has nothing to do with being worthy. We are sons and daughters of God by BIRTH, not by worth!” -Judah Smith
In having the best robe placed on Him:
the Father was telling the Prodigal as well as all observers that his position as son was being restored.
It was an immediate demonstration of complete approval, love and mercy as well as protection of his identity
In having the ring put on his hand
Long ago, presenting a ring to someone was a sign of great affection and a symbol of being placed in an office of authority; among the rich it was a sign of wealth and dignity.
Pharaoh removed his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s hand when installing him into office in Egypt (Genesis 41:42).
In the book of Esther, the King took off his ring, the royal signet by which the decrees of government were signed, and gave it to Mordecai. (Esther 8:2).
In having the sandals put on his feet:
The prodigal returned home without shoes, a sign of having become extremely destitute because in ancient biblical times only servants and slaves went barefoot. When the Father ordered shoes to be brought out and put on the Prodigal’s feet he said for the third and final time that the Prodigal was not to be treated as a servant but as a son with all entitlements.
If we aren’t satisfied with Christ within us we will run away and find something else. Or we will live in his presence as a slave far off in the fields as if we aren’t even related to Him.
“Grace is more than a principle, more than an idea, more than a doctrine or dogma, more than a cover up for sin. Grace is a person. And his name is Jesus.” -Judah Smith
Romans 8:15-17 The Passion Translation
⁵And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of Full Acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as He rises up within us, our spirits join Him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father, Abba!” ⁶For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as He whispers into our innermost being: “You are God’s beloved child!” ⁷And since we are His true children we qualify to share all His treasures! Indeed, we are heirs of God Himself, and since we are joined to the Anointed One, we inherit all that He is and all that He has.
“Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the noncelebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassation to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.” Robert Capon