“Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:23-24)
The famous parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 presents two worldviews about the main character – the younger son, who went up the crest of affluence and lived large and luxuriously with foolishness, then sank into the valley of absolute poverty; while scrapping and scraping, wallowing in the mire of want and lack, he saw a ray of wisdom; the hunger and suffering beat the madness out of the young man’s head and he came to his God-given senses. He composed a humble confession that would move to compassion the heart of any father however tough or careless. Many sinners are just mad; they see a mirage and are convinced it is a reality; they have heard how stories of wild living have ended in pain and disappointment, but still go down that ‘easy’ road. From rock-bottom the young man now arose and set out on the narrow and hard path that few people find.
That was repentance – metanoeō (Greek): to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider. When he arrived, the two worldviews were revealed: the first is embodied in the elder brother who became angry and refused to welcome his ‘resurrected’ sibling. Distancing himself, he says, ‘this son of yours…’ and reminds the father of the young man’s many sins, while praising himself. This was his first act of disobedience, which revealed the opportunistic mindset harbored by the elder brother all along. Wasn’t this the reluctant mindset among the Jews? Jonah was angry when the people of Nineveh repented; the Jews complained when Jesus went for ministry at Zacchaeus’ house. All these and more were demonstrations of God reaching out to ‘a prodigal son’, and some ‘elder brother’ gets angry. We are warned against this selfish and opportunistic mindset when the Lord saves us by his grace.
What about their father? He is a good good father… He embodied the second and most important worldview. Twice he gives the reason for the celebration: the young man ‘was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ He told this to the servants who made ready for the party, and he told the same to his elder son – an emphasis that we should not miss by all means. It is the reason to celebrate! It is comforting that no matter how deep you feel you’ve fallen, no matter what the servants think, no matter what the elder brother says, the Father is determined to celebrate the return of a prodigal.
He is determined to save the Gentiles, the Samaritans, the ‘labeled sinners’, and He is determined to save you. Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Come join the party as more repent and return home. Are you still confused, disappointed, lost or even dead in sin? Just arise and start the journey to the Father; His arms are wide open to receive, forgive and embrace you back as a child – Alive Again!