18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:18–19, NKJV)
The young man had wasted his inheritance on self-indulgent, sinful living (Luke 15:11-13). Without money, he took a most menial job that barely kept him alive (Luke 15:14-17). Finally recognizing his dilemma and errors, his change of heart (“he came to himself”) prompted him to return to his father, not with a demand like before (Luke 15:12), but with a plea to be taken back as a servant. The devastating effects of sin are evident in this parable of the prodigal (wasteful) son (Prov. 13:15). Additional lessons are set before us as we meditate on Christ’s words. The mercy of God is on full display under the figure of the father. Instead of responding to his son with angry bitterness and resentful retribution, the father compassionately embraced his son and arranged a celebratory feast, rejoicing at his son’s return (Luke 15:20-24). God will mercifully forgive and receive every sinner who turns to Him with a repentant heart and humble, obedient life. Whatever your sin, lay it aside and return to the Father, and heaven will rejoice (Luke 15:7, 10). The older son teaches poignant lessons against failing to be thankful (for his father’s blessings) and failing to forgive his brother’s sins (Luke 15:25-32). Contrasted with his repentant brother, the older son displayed an entitled, self-righteous attitude and refusal to forgive (Luke 15:1-2). God will not forgive this person (Matt. 6:14-15). Two brothers, both sinners. One sinner was forgiven, the other was not. Which sinner reflects you and me?