Read Luke 15:11-18
In Luke 15:1-2 we read, “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, this man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” The publicans and sinners drew near to hear Jesus. The Pharisees and scribes, the religious leaders of that time also came near— to criticize him. The promised Deliverer has come. The blind see, the deaf speak, and hear, lepers are cleansed, demons are cast out, and the dead are raised to life. The Lord is visiting His people.
What the Pharisees saw was that Jesus violated their customs and traditions. He can’t be of God! They didn’t look at the miracles, and healings. They didn’t care to see the mighty move of God touching and transforming lives. All revivals have prematurely stopped because of this same hypocritical thinking, this same religious spirit.
The Pharisees murmured, saying, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” Jesus tells them two parables, which sinners and Pharisees, publicans and scribes could accept, and relate to. One was the lost sheep, and the other was piece of silver. This is something they all had in common; they would all have sought out that sheep and silver for material gain. Now Jesus has their attention and he brings the story closer to home. This is not a story of financial blessing, but a spiritual blessing. This is not a parable of sheep or silver, but a story about a living soul that was spiritually lost.
The different characters; the Scribes and Pharisees represent the elder son, and the publicans and sinners the youngest son. The Loving, Merciful, and Forgiven Father represent’s Our Heavenly Father.
I like what Barnes commentary says, “The story of the prodigal is the story of one who goes from possessor, to prodigal, to pauper, to penitent, to pardoned.” The youngest son represents all of those who have been called by God and for whatever reason; they have placed one foot in the church and one foot in the world.
This cannot be a picture of the lost (unbelievers). A person lost, physically or spiritual does not know where they are. They need someone to show them the way, to rescue them. But, a child of God who chooses to sin know exactly where they are and they know the way back. They are not lost, but backslidden. If they choose to stay in a backslidden state they can become spiritual and permanently lost. If they choose not to repent they loose the ability to spiritually discern their physical and spiritual state. Now they have one foot in Heaven, and one foot in Hell.
Luke 15:11-12 says, “And he said, 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.” When the young son came to his father to ask for his inheritance, in the Jewish culture of that day, it was like he was saying, “I can’t wait until you are dead!” This was highly unconventional and was insulting of the father. This is what the Jewish leaders understood and in their minds, they would not have received the young son back into the family. This young man wanted the blessings and promises of God and also the pleasures of this world.
Verse 13 says he gathered all his things and he took his journey into a far country. He had no intentions of returning, if he did he would not have taken everything he owned. I don’t know why he left. Most young people leave because they don’t like the rules. The rules restrict them from doing what they want to do.
In Exodus 19:12 in the wilderness at Mt. Sinai God ordered bounds to be placed around the Mount, lest people touched the Holy Mountain and die. Those bounds where not there to keep the people away, but to protect them and keep them from a sure death. God still set bounds in our lives or commandments such as; thou shall not steal, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not have no other gods before me. These commandments or boundaries are there to protect us from the consequences of sin.
In Deuteronomy 27 & 28 speaks about how certain sins will bring a curse upon a person and their family bloodline. What kind of curses? Premature death, poverty, mental illness, diseases, bareness… The curses don’t just affect the person who committed them, but also their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, to the third and fourth generation.
Romans 6:23 clearly say the wages of sin is death. Sin will strip you from God’s presence, peace, joy, and mental and physical well-being.
The son took his journey into a far country; which sets forth the state of alienation a sinner is in. He separated himself from anyone who could have helped him, Father, family, pastor, church, or Christians.
A backslidden person is not looking for someone to rescue him or her, but someone to understand and accept him or her. The world would say we understand and accept you. The church would say we love you, but we reject your choices and life style. The backslider takes that to mean that Christians reject them because of their lifestyle and choices. Which is a distortion of the truth. God loves the sinner, but he hates sin. God’s love does not give us a license to sin, but rather a reason not to sin.
This young man wasted his substance with riotous living. Verse 14 says, “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.” Sin strips a man of all that is good and valuable; of the image of God, of the knowledge of divine things, of natural holiness, of moral righteousness, intimacy, purpose, and destiny.
Scriptures says, “He began to be in want.” Although he was already in need when he spent everything, he didn’t realize it until he needed something that he didn’t have, something vital to his physical or spiritual survival.
Famine is usually due to drought, or pestilence: It brings a scarcity of natural food. Someone who is in rebellion against God, will be spiritual famished due to a lack of God’s Word, and the Living Water to nourish and quench their thirsty soul. Material things can only fill a natural void, but never a spiritual one. It isn’t until we realize that we are in want, that we attempt to fill that need. The prodigal son in verse 15 joined himself to a citizen of that country although he was a citizen of another country. He joined himself to a famish country that had nothing to offer him, but disappointment and discouragement. He had dual citizenship. Comparable to having one foot in Heaven, and one foot in Hell….to be continued