I am excited to get to this part of the scriptures that speak about the prodigal son. I have heard about this story so many times since I was a child. I remember painting the characters and scenes with crayons during sunday school. The story speaks of a happy reunion with the father and I always associated the prodigal son with a troubled teenager, someone who did not love God, someone who did not go to church, a troubled person but perhaps it speaks of you and me.
Who is the prodigal son? Let us dissect this scripture and see it with a Spiritual perspective and as a Kingdom story. Let us read this story as follows: God had many sons and daughters and they all had entitlement to all His possessions. They were all unique in their own abilities and physical attributes but they all depended on Him to shine! to live a full life! to be protected from an enemy that wanted to destroy them. They all knew this and had free will to choose for themselves.
One day, one of them said to God the Father. I am going to go on my own way. I think I can do better than being here subjected to you, even as you say is for my own protection. I don’t need you. You have too many rules and I want to live a full life in freedom! I don’t want to even see you and will go to a far away place, therefore, give me what belongs to me.
God said, very well son, you are entitled to your own free will and to the gifts that belong to you and all your unique characteristics. I wish you would reconsider and stay close to Me for the guidelines I give you are for your own protection so that you do live and enjoy a free and fulfilling life.
When you are away from Me, I can’t protect you from the destroyer that seeks to kill you, destroy your abilities and your gifts and strip you of your own identity unless you come back on your own free will. Do know that I will always love you, I will be here waiting for you and this will always be your home but you have to choose it. I will never make you do anything contrary to your will. I will never force the love I desire from you even if it hurts to let you go.
In the story, one of the sons stays home and works for the Father. We don’t hear much about this son at the beginning. The son that stays with the Father represent those who are choosing to stay close to God doing good works and in compliance. The prodigal son represents those who turn their heart away from God in rebellion.
The younger son went away and lived his life, enjoyed his gifts, lived for the day, fed his flesh and had no cares at all. But his inheritance went away for he used it all up. He did not invest in what matters. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
All who he was meant to be, was not to its fullness for he was separated from the source that gives life. He was away from God so he found himself in the midst of a famine. Others in this place were also away from God. All was gloom and foul. The fun he had enjoyed was all bought for a while and did not last for it was not real. It fulfilled for a while but then the famine came and was there to stay.
He found himself spiraling downhill. He tried to survive for a while on his own but the best this place could offer was comparable to a pig’s life style. By now, He had lost his identity. He couldn’t offer anything himself except feed the pigs that belong to the landlord of that land. He wanted to eat the pig’s food as well. It was starting to look good! He was “living, or dying” at the mercy of the one that hired him. He wasn’t free! he wasn’t enjoying his life! what is more, He did not even know he was dead to whom he was meant to be.
Deep within him, he knew that he was made for something better than what this land could offer him. He was the son of a wealthy king! the son of the Creator! In his house, there was plenty! In his house, there was never a famine! He was a prince! but wait, he had rejected this position! He thought he would do better on his own!
Oh.. Noo! There was so much in his father’s house! Could the Father take him back? not only had he rejected the Father but he also had done everything contrary to the lessons he had learned at home. The Father would definitely not allow him in after all he had done! but wait, he thought! Maybe if.. Maybe if the Father takes him as one of the hired people and not as a son! this is what he did and he went home!
He had to ask forgiveness! He had to tell his Father that not only he had sinned against Him but against heaven or house rules. He had done everything contrary to His father’s teachings and guidelines. The father was so excited! He had his slaves bring the best robe, ring and sandals to restore his identity. He was telling him, “This is home and you are my beloved son!” “I am happy you have chosen to come back home!” “I am happy you were not lost forever!”
The Father commands the slaves to bring the best foods also to nurture this son and restore him to life! for He said: This son of mine was dead and has come to life again, he was lost and has been found! The celebration was so loud that the brother that was working couldn’t help to hear it.
After he found out what was going on, he got upset and refused to go in and celebrate! He told the Father: “Look, for so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.”
And the Father said to him, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”
This story follows alongside the previous stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin. The common theme of these stories is the happiness that it brings to the one searching for what was lost. For it is not about having one more or adding to the numbers but it is about the fact that one lost is too many! For the Father values each one of us and knows that without Jesus we are lost. He knows what the end looks like and wants no one to end there.
I can’t finish the story before pointing out the behavior of the son that was faithful to the Father. He was not rejoicing for his brother’s sake for perhaps he did not comprehend what end those who go away from God suffer. The father knows and rejoices when we choose Him for He desires life for us. Let us choose our God and savior, let us return to our true identity and let us also not forget what our Lord’s efforts are toward. To prevent us from an eternal doom.
John 3:16 1 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Do not comform to pig’s life style but choose the life you are meant to have. Choose life now! choose God! Return home!