October 26, 2022 – Wednesday
Luke 15:1-3 NIV
1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.
2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable
Wait! I am really going to finish verses 11-32 tonight, but first we need to see a few things. First in verse three we read Then Jesus told them this parable, a singular parable! That’s correct, a single parable in three parts, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost younger son as well as the lost older son.
The focus is to lead us to the lost older son who represents the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who muttered, This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. It was only after this that Luke tells us, Then Jesus told them this parable. I went here on BibleGateway.com and every version had the singular this parable or story. Additionally, all versions had the word them as Then Jesus told them this parable.
After which we have the story of the lost sheep found by the shepherd followed by the story of the lost coin found with the help of a light, and finally the story of the lost younger son who is found along with his elder brother who was also lost but did not know it. I like the idea we can see the Trinity in this extended parable, the shepherd is Jesus, the light is the Holy Spirit, and the father is our Heavenly Father.
We go from the lost sheep to the lost coin with Or suppose in verse eight, then next in verse eleven, 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. Jesus continued! He was not yet done! And it was not about one son, but two sons.
The younger son we know from verses 12-16, asked for and received his share of his father’s inheritance. He then took all of this converted to some form of money and traveled to a distant land where he wasted it on riotous living (wine and women) until he was out of money. Then things got worse, the distant land he was in experienced a famine and the only way he could earn any money was to feed pigs without being allowed to eat the pig food.
Then in verses 17-19, he literally came to his senses, realized how good he had it back home and even now the servants there ate well compared to his near starvation status. In his heart we are privy to his repentance for how he treated his father and his inheritance, 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.’ He not only repented but humbled himself.
What follows in verses 20-24, is when the younger son set out to return to his father. But a long way off his father saw him and instead of waiting in judgment, he was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son tried to tell the father of his repentance, but the father knew he would not have returned unless he had repented in his heart. As a result, the father called for a celebration as this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Notice how this lines up with what Jesus said in verse seven, 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. And again, in verse ten, 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. In the presence of God there is rejoicing whenever a sinner repents and returns to the fold.
All good and fine, but what of the older son? In verses 25-30, we find a very angry and bitter older son who refuses to join the celebration. When his father spoke with him, he replied to his father with great disrespect saying he had slaved for his father and never disobeyed his orders. Of course, that was an angry lie at worst or an angry exaggeration at best as there is only one who has never disobeyed his father’s orders and that is Jesus our storyteller. Then he says to his father when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him! I can only imagine that he would have said this son of yours with great disdain and disgust not even acknowledging he was speaking about his own brother.
What the elder brother in his bitterness had forgotten was how unappreciative of all he did have. “Every day he had his father’s company, and the blessed society of home. His father’s love was round about him constantly, and everything the father had was his” Morrison. But in his bitterness he was like, “The proud and the self-righteous always feel that they are not treated as well as they deserve” Morris. (Source David Guzik)
The final two verses, 31-32, tell us how the father responded. The father reminds the older son all that he has belongs to him as he had already given the younger son his share of the inheritance. Then the father tenderly rebukes his older son when he tells him we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. This brother of yours! How can he not want to celebrate?
This was Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees in 15:2, where the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Their Jewish brothers! They had forgotten Micah 6:8, He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. The Pharisees neither loved mercy nor walked humbly with God.
Jesus did not provide an ending to this parable. He left it up to the listeners (and readers) to ask, did the older son admit to his bitter churlishness and celebrate the return of his brother or did he remain self-righteous, setting himself above his brother and his father?
Jesus would later say in Luke 19:9-10, 9 Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. This was for the tax collector Zaccheus who was also a Jew, a son of Abraham. Anyone could be saved. Anyone, no matter the opinion of the Pharisees.
Bottom Line: All can be saved. Let us not be arrogant thinking we know who can and cannot be saved out of our own self-righteousness and arrogance.
Prayer: Almighty God, Your long-suffering waiting for so many to repent and return to the fold always amazes me. I am so thankful You waited for me to return. Please use me to share the message that anyone can be saved through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross if they will only repent and believe. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton