February 13, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We will continue to view Act One of the Three-Act Play In Luke 15:11. This first Act covers the story of the The Prodigal Son, the younger of a rich man’s two boys. In Scene I we looked at the son’s very unusual and defiant request, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” (Luke 15:12). He was only interested in his father’s wealth, not the father himself! But the father granted his son’s wish, and it says, “So he divided to them his livelihood.” (Luke 15:12). He divided up all his wealth between his two sons – one third to the younger and two thirds to the elder, according to God’s direction in Deuteronomy 21:17.
Then it says of the young man in Luke 15:13 – “And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, [and] journeyed to a far country…” where he “…wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” And when famine hit that far country, “…he began to be in want.” (Luke 15:14). “Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.” (Luke 15:15). A Jewish boy feeding pigs – so contrary to what God said in Leviticus 11:7 and 8! Apparently, the guy for whom he was working didn’t treat his bond slaves very well because he wasn’t even feeding the young man! It says in Luke 15:16, “…he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.”
That’s where we left him – in the pig sty! But Act One is far from over! On to Scene II!
• Luke 15:17 – “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!” Why is it we sometimes have to hit rock-bottom before we come to ourselves? But The Prodigal Son realized – finally! – that his way was the wrong way!
If he had just been familiar with his own Jewish scriptures, he may have learned before he got into this mess what it says in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 (KJV): “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Yes, as it says in Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; reproofs of instructions are the way of life.” And God pleads with His children, in Deuteronomy 30:19: “…I have set before you today life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live….”
But it also is written in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” So, like the rest of us, maybe he would not have avoided all his pain had he known the right way! We are all sinners, and we all sin against God and one another because that is our nature! We all need a new nature, and only the Lord can give us that! (see Romans 3:10, 23; John 3:3-5; II Corinthians 5:17).
• Luke 15:18, 19 and 20 – “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.’ And he arose and came to his father.” He had it all worked out in his mind! But he was still wrong, as we shall see! At least he was turning more in the right direction!
So was he right at all? Yes, because of several things:
First, he decided to do something about his wrong decisions! I have met too many people who basically say, “Yeah, I sure have messed up my life! But it is too late for me!” And they stay where they are – in one way or another, in the pig sty!
Second, he was going back to the one against whom he had sinned the most – his father – and he was determined to make amends. He still had some things to learn about such amends, but at least he was going to try.
Third, he planned to confess his sins to his father. He was wrong – his daddy was right! And he would tell his father that in plain language – no fudging the truth! That is confession!
Fourth, he repented! This maybe should have been listed second, because it was the first thing the young man mentioned in his decision: “I will arise and go to my father….” Repentance means turning from the direction you are presently heading, and going back the other way! The Prodigal Son had been heading in a sinful, rebellious and destructive direction, and now he would turn around and go home!
…these where his plans, and…
Fifth, he followed through! For it says, “And he arose and came to his father.” It may have been difficult to get up out of the mud and leave the pigs. After all, he had gotten used to those miserable conditions! And, apparently, he was half-starved and not in the best physical shape to travel home from a far country. But perhaps with great effort, he got up, put one foot before the other, kept at it, and accomplished the long journey home!
In Act One, Scene III we will see what happened upon his arrival.