Tag Archives: prodigal

“When He Came to Himself” #2299

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 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 15:17–19, NKJV).

The change of heart that led to merciful forgiveness in the parable of the wasteful son is well known. God is ready to receive back every sinner who comes to himself. God’s divine mercy impelled Solomon to pray about Israel coming to itself after sinning against the Lord. While dedicating the temple, Solomon petitioned God to hear the prayers of His people after their sins brought His anger and punishment upon them (1 Kings 8:46). He prayed, “Yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You…saying, ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness’; and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul…grant them compassion…” (1 Kings 8:47-53). God is ready to forgive us and receive us with loving compassion when we decide to come to ourselves and repent. Coming to ourselves about our sins takes admitting them (to ourselves and God, Ps. 51:3-4). It takes turning our hearts and lives back to God. Repentance leading to salvation is more than being sorry for sin. It is a radical change of heart that leads us to obey God instead of sin (2 Cor. 7:9-10).

“He Spoke This Parable” #2246

1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying: (Luke 15:1–3, NKJV).

Simply put, a parable is an illustration of divine truth. The illustration is taken from ordinary life events, from which the spiritual lesson is drawn. Greek dictionaries define a “parable” (parabole) as “a similitude…fictitious narrative (of common life conveying a moral)” (Strong’s, G3850). Understanding the parables depends on the condition of one’s heart. Jesus explained this in the parable of the soils, which He said is key to understanding the parables (Mark 4:13, 14-20). An open, honest heart receives its meaning, holds it fast, and bears good fruit (Luke 8:9-10, 15). Hard, closed hearts do not receive God’s word and fail to understand and apply the parables of the Lord (Matt. 13:10-22). In today’s passage, the scribes and Pharisees complained against Jesus for receiving and eating with sinners. They distorted the truth of the matter. The sinners came to Jesus to hear Him teach. He did not endorse their sins; just the opposite. He taught them the way of God in truth to save them. Jesus answered His critics with three parables. God is compassionate toward sinners (Luke 15:4-7), God values each and every soul (Lk. 15:8-10), and God mercifully forgives sinners who repent and return to Him (Luke 15:11-24). Like the elder son, the complainers were ungrateful of their blessings and unmerciful toward sinners (Lk. 15:25-32). Powerful lessons for those who have “ears to hear” (Matt. 13:9).

Learning To Be Merciful #2178

25 Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ 28 But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. (Luke 15:25–28, NKJV)

The parable of the prodigal son teaches how people choose to respond to God’s mercy. The younger son’s sinful waste, repentance, and his father’s forgiveness typify our sins, repentance, and God’s forgiveness. We must not overlook the elder son’s reaction to his father’s merciful acceptance of his brother. He complained when his father welcomed his brother like the Pharisees and scribes complained against Jesus when He received sinners (Lk. 15:1-2). The older son had been obedient and loyal to his father, but his ingratitude for his constant blessings in his father’s house led him to anger instead of mercy (Lk. 15:29-31). We become thankful sons of God who are ready to forgive others when we plumb the depths of God’s mercy toward us. The elder son’s lack of thoughtful thankfulness kept him from appreciating his blessings and having joyful mercy toward his brother. That is truly a sad place to be in one’s life. Let us respond to God’s mercy by being merciful and forgiving toward others (Lk. 15:32). Then, we will receive mercy (Lk. 6:36-38).

Joyful Mercy When A Sinner Repents #2177

21 “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and 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, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:21–24, NKJV)

Just as the father readily forgave his wasteful son upon his repentant return, God is anxious to receive fallen Christians with full forgiveness and joyfulness. The way back to God may seem impossible to one who has “tasted the heavenly gift” yet wasted it with shameful, “prodigal living” (Heb. 6:4; Lk. 15:13). But God is rich in mercy, ready to forgive. David’s plea for mercy embodies the blessed assurance of every soul who turns to God for relief from sin’s burdens: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake” (Psa. 6:2-4)! The decision to go to God for merciful forgiveness does not rest on whether God will forgive, but whether we have the courage and humble faith to put away sin and repentantly return to Him (Lk. 15:17-21). Oh, what joy over one sinner who repents (Lk. 15:7, 10)!

“I have sinned against heaven and in your sight” #609

21  “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and 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, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23  And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24  for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:21–24, NKJV)

God’s mercy and joy over one sinner who repents is on clear display in the parable of the prodigal son. What is equally observed is the wasteful son’s repentance that prompted him to return to his father and humbly confess his sins. God is ready to show mercy and forgive every sin; of that there is no doubt. When we sin against God, the probing question is whether we will recognize our terrible spiritual condition, humble ourselves before God and repent (Lk. 15:14-19). We must take personal responsibility for our sins. We cannot blame our sins on others. When personal accountability for our sin is coupled with godly sorrow, we can move forward to repent and receive the merciful forgiveness of God (2 Cor. 7:10).