February 18, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Scene III of Act One of the Three-Act Play, we saw the Prodigal Son again in the presence of his father as the old man literally ran to meet him! And we saw in Luke 15:18 and 19 the confession the young man had planned to make to his dad:
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.”
His confession was good in that he realized he had sinned against God first and also his father by squandering his inheritance – an inheritance given to him before his father died, against all social norms! He had ‘hit bottom’ starving in the pig sty, and he determined to go home as a repentant sinner!
But we also learned his confession was wrong because he was going to ask for the position of a day-laborer and try to earn his way back into the family. A sinner cannot earn his or her way into God’s family!
In Luke 15:21 the young man started to give his planned confession. But his father cut him off in the middle of it…
• Luke 15:22 – “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.” What was the father doing here by giving the son “…a robe…ring…and sandals…”?
▸ The robe was an expensive long garment like the father wore – a symbol of wealth and family!
▸ The sandals also were worn by the well-off. Day-laborers could seldom afford such footwear.
▸ The ring – I saved it for last – is the most significant. It contained the family seal in reverse, so when, for instance, a contract was made, or ownership was to be established, the ring would be pressed into a wax seal or into wet clay to show the seal or ‘signature’ of that family!
The father was conferring back full sonship on his Prodigal Son, the one who thought “I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:19).
Isn’t that what God through Jesus Christ has done for us? It is written in John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name….” And John wrote in I John 3:1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” Such love only comes by the grace of God accessed by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior! There is no possibility of working to pay God back for offending Him by our wasteful and sinful living! As it says in Titus 3:4 through 7:
…the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by
works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He
saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy
Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our
Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs
according to the hope of eternal life.
• Luke 15:23 and 24 – The father further commanded his servants, “And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”
He had received his son home again – back from the being lost, back from, as it were, being dead! This was the best day of the old man’s life! It was time for celebration! The fatted calf was reserved for special celebrations. Meat was not an everyday part of the diet in Jesus time. It was too expensive! And the fatted calf was like serving filet mignon! To such a celebration the whole town would be invited! It was a large and expensive affair! But the cost to the father was not an issue – his son had come home!
• Luke 15:24 – “And they began to be merry.” So ends Act One of the Three Act Play. And it sets up Act Two which concerns the other son, the elder son of the family. We will meet him in Friday’s blog.