Read: Luke 15:11-32
One of the most familiar stories in the Bible, otherwise known as the prodigal son. This is every parent’s nightmare as well as every parent’s fantasy. Not that our children would squander whatever we give them, but that they would one day realize just how much we love them and the extent to which we will go for them. And then, the real prayer, that they would understand the bigger story in the story and see God the Father and His relentless pursuit of His children.
Two sides of this story revolve around the prodigal son. Jesus is reaching out to those who are lost, as in the two previous parables, and celebrates when the lost are found. The feast is open to all, yet there are those who would find fault, criticize, and openly fight against such forgiveness.
Do you agree that the older brother is a metaphor for the Pharisees? Perhaps for the pious church leaders of today that have strings attached and conditions for acceptance rather then complete forgiveness. It’s messy to forgive someone who’s squandered all that’s been given to him. It certainly requires discernment, but my prayer is that my reliance on discernment isn’t the same as the older brother in this story.
The younger son had to be completely broken before he realized what he had in his hands all along. He had no idea that he would be accepted when he returned, but he humbly returned anyway. After it all fell apart, the memory of a loving family flooded his mind. A safe place where servants and sons were cared for. Is our home that inviting? Is our church willing to forgive that much? Are we the beacon of hope Jesus talks about?
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. Luke 15:32
Jesus talks about forgiveness quite often. Maybe it’s easy for Him, after all, He’s been around forever. But wait, aren’t we more than mere mortals? If we get a tiny glimpse of what it means to be an eternal being, one with the Father for all eternity, perhaps then we too can be a people that forgives like Jesus. The epitome of Christlikeness.
Lord, I want to be one known for love and compassion, one who is quick to forgive completely — just like You.
Happy Good Friday.