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Jesus’ earthly ministry had a similar theme when it came to His interactions with others. He showed grace to the humble and lowly and pronounced judgment on the lofty and proud. The religious leaders in Jesus’ day looked down on others, but Jesus saw them for who they were. And he indiscriminately invited everyone to repentance. And He still does.
We all know the feeling of being lost. Maybe you used a GPS or map to find your way again, or maybe a helpful friend or stranger helped you find your way. There’s no better feeling than knowing you have been found and are on the right course again. Jesus uses a parable to communicate to His disciples that He is in the business of finding lost people—lost souls—and setting them on the right course. And Jesus also indicates that some very special, though unseen, witnesses are rejoicing whenever a lost soul is found through faith in Jesus.
As Jesus continues to effectively use parables to reveal truths about the human condition to His audience, He’s aware of the skepticism His message is facing from the Pharisees and religious leaders. And He has a story ready that will shake even them to their core. If you imagined the least desirable, the least redeemable, the lowest class of person you can think of, that’s the man Jesus now presents to these leaders as an example of the indiscriminate grace of God.
Success often leads to pride, but have you ever considered that failure can lead to pride? Many people hit rock bottom and, rather than fall upon the mercy of God or others, continue to pridefully look for ways to get themselves out of the situation, save face, and restore their dignity. But that’s not the spirit Jesus wants from sinners who realize they are at rock bottom in their sin and desire to come to Him. As He continues the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus reminds us that the posture we bring to Him matters just as much as the fact that we come at all.
The prodigal son prepared to return home with the posture of humility but a heart of pride. He concocted a plan to save face, restore his dignity and increase his status. As he journeyed home, he rehearsed exactly what he would say. But when he arrived in town, the prodigal was confounded by a level of grace so unexpected and irresistible, he forgot his plan entirely. God continues to blow people away with His grace and forgiveness in our world today.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most famous parables Jesus told during His earthly ministry. But whenever someone refers to it, they do it in that way: “Prodigal Son.” Singular. But there are two prodigals in Luke’s account in chapter 15. The first prodigal came home to his father, expecting rejection but experiencing grace. The other prodigal never left home, expecting recognition but experiencing bitterness. We’ve studied the lost son, now let’s learn from the son who never left.
This series is available as a set of CD's. CLICK HERE for the Lost and Found CD Set.