A demonstration of God’s complete forgiveness to us who are so underserving
11 Jesus continued: ‘There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them.
13 ‘Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 ‘When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.” 20 So he got up and went to his father.
‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him.
21 ‘The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
22 ‘But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
When I read this passage for the umpteenth time, I struggled to see it with fresh eyes. There are many lost and found stories in the bible, and in Luke we see: sheep (15:1-7); a coin (15:8-10); a rich man (16:19-31); a Samaritan leper (17:11-16); a self-righteous Pharisee and a humble tax collector (18:9-14); a rich ruler (18:18-23); a blind beggar (18:35-43); and Zacchaeus (19:1-10).
Why then, out of all the lost and found stories, is this one of the prodigal son so familiar and repeated, even in secular culture? I think it is because the son is so completely undeserving and he is welcomed, received and forgiven so completely by his father.
There are many ways people are lost as described in the song ‘Your Name is Matchless’, by Sovereign Grace: sinners, orphans, hopelessly imprisoned, broken, alone, captives, enemies, and prodigals. But there is only one Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ and it is by calling on His Name that we are saved. As we see with the lost son, he realises that there is only one person that could rescue him, even though he had wished his father dead by his request for his inheritance (he loved what is father could give him and not his father).
And we see how completely he is forgiven by his father and the celebration that ensues with the best of everything. How the father rejoices in his son’s return.
Head: Do you identify with the son, understanding how completely ‘lost’ you are/were from God and underserving of His forgiveness. Meditate on this as you listen to the song Your Name is Matchless.
Heart: Do you celebrate that you have been ‘found’ and completely forgiven by Jesus’ shed blood and resurrection? All of heaven does.
Hands: Demonstrate God’s love for you by using Sam Chan’s strategy of getting your Christian friends to become your unbelieving friend’s friends’. Find ways to celebrate together.
Gracious Father, thank you for your mercy in finding me and completely saving me, even though I did not deserve it, and could do nothing to change my relationship with you. I pray that others would see the joy that I have in you, and all heaven rejoice and celebrate as others come to know you and be saved by the matchless name of Jesus’ and His precious shed blood. Amen
A song to listen to: Your Name is Matchless
Living Church – Creek Road