As I have been taking a long look at it, I have found myself challenged by much of what Jesus had to say in the parables found in Luke 15, and I feel compelled to share some of those with you here. While the story of the prodigal has always been a favorite of mine, here are some of the things that stand out to me. If you have already caught these truths for yourself, pardon my slowness.
1. Jesus’s story-telling is in response to the religious leaders’ claim, “This man eats with sinners. What they were saying is, “This man accepts sinners, and wants to be in community with them.”
2. The chapter opens with a meal (feast) and closes with a feast.
3. In the first two parables [lost sheep, lost coin], there was clearly someone who was responsible for searching for the lost article. In the culture of Jesus’s day, it would have been the responsibility of the elder brother to hold the family together. It was his responsibility to go after the younger brother – at his own personal expense – and bring him home.
4. The younger brother represents the publicans and sinners. The elder brother represents the religious leaders.
5. Both sons were more interested in the things of the father (his wealth, etc) than they were the father. They wanted his stuff, but not him.
6. When the younger son came to himself [in the pigpen], he suddenly thought of his father… not his father’s stuff. He had learned that stuff does not satisfy. He remembered the compassion of the father, and wanted to reconcile that relationship.
7. The father’s placing the best robe [his robe] a ring and shoes on the younger son is a vivid picture of justification. The son sought for a means of restitution, but as the father looked upon him in the robe, ring and shoes, it was as if the son had never left home to begin with.
8. Too many of us are like one or the other of these brothers.
9. No matter how far or how long we are away from “home,” the Father watches and waits for our return to HIM.
10. Whether we are younger-brother-types or older-brother-types, the Father invites us all, “Come to the Table.”