Dr. Andrew C Koh
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your divine appointment with us. Thank You for meeting us through the pages of scripture. Speak to us through the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you lost anything? It is very frustrating to have lost something. You will turn the whole house upside down until you find it.
Luke 15 is a chapter concerning the lost and the found. Here is a triplet of three parables, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. The tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to hear Him teach. The Pharisees and scribes were incensed because Jesus was so friendly with the social outcasts whom they considered to be sinners. Jesus responded to this attack by telling these three parables.
11 He said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property.’ So he divided his livelihood between them. 13 Not many days after, the younger son gathered all of this together and traveled into a far country. There he wasted his property with riotous living. 14 When he had spent all of it, there arose a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 He went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He wanted to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him any. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father and will tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. 19 I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 “He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet.23 Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let’s eat, and celebrate; 24 for this, my son, was dead and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’ Then they began to celebrate ( read the rest of Luke 15 on your own)Luke 15:11-24
Here is the famous parable of the lost or prodigal son. A man had two sons. The younger son demanded his share of his father’s estate when his father was still alive! In Jewish custom, the elder son will get 2/3 and the younger son gets 1/3 of the estate but only when the father dies. After cashing out the money, the younger son ran away to a Gentile country and wasted everything on irresponsible living. Very soon, he was bankrupt and destitute. To make matters worse, a severe recession hit the land. The only job he could get was to look after the pigs for a Gentile businessman. Here is the shocking part. He had to feed the pig! For a Jew to feed the pigs was terribly insulting as pigs are unclean animals. He was so hungry that he even wanted to eat the pig’s food!
When the prodigal son hits rock bottom, he came back to his senses. He was dying of hunger. He decided to return to his father or he will be dead. He acknowledged that he had made a terrible mistake. He was willing to apologize to his father and become his servant. He made a 180 degrees U-turn to go home, rehearsing his repentance speech along the way.
When he was still a long way off, his father spotted him from a distance. The father felt sorry for the son. He had been looking out for him ever since he left. He ran and kissed the son’s neck even though he was dirty and smelly all over. In those days, for a rich man to run was considered very shameful. Before the son could even complete his repentance speech, the father interrupted him.
The father covered the son with the best robe, put a signet ring on his hand, shoes on his feet, slaughtered the fattened calf, and hosted a feast to celebrate the return of his lost son.
A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. In a parable, every character represents something. The father represents God. The prodigal son represents the tax collectors and sinners. The best robe represents Christ’s robe of righteousness. The signet ring and shoes represent restoration to sonship. The signet ring is a stamp for authorizing family transactions. In those days, servants went around barefooted but sons wear shoes.
The prodigal son also represents people. People have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. People are like lost sheep who have turned to their own way. God waits patiently for people to repent and comes back to HIm. He will forgive people who come to him in repentance. He will cover them with Christ’s robe of righteousness and restore them to sonship.
The prodigal son also represents Christians who have back-slided in the faith. God is waiting for them to repent and turn back to him. To repent is to make a 180 degrees U-turn and return to God in repentance. God waits patiently for back-slided Christians to return to Him.
The father had to celebrate because his son was lost and found. He was given up for dead but came home alive. The elder brother in the parable represents the self-righteous, judgmental, and hypocritical Pharisees and scribes, who scoffed at the tax collectors and sinners. They too needed to repent and come back to God but they would not.
People are like lost sheep who had gone astray. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for them on the cross to pay the penalty of their sins for them. There will be great joy in heaven when one sinner repents and turn back to God.
The prodigal son came back to his senses, returned home, confessed his sin, and repented. The four steps to salvation are acknowledgment of sin, return to God, confession, and repentance. God is waiting for sinners to return to Him.
Have you walked away from God? You can return to him right now, right where you are. In a simple prayer, confess your sin, and surrender your life to God. He is waiting for you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful and memorable parable of the prodigal son. Thank You for looking for us to bring us home to You through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Thank you for the wonderful gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. If we have walked away from You, help us to return back to You. Help us to recommit our lives to You to serve You in the kingdom of God, in Jesus’ name, Amen.