Sunday, 16 December 2018
Rev E Stegen
The story of the prodigal son is an amazing story. The younger son was dead and came back to life again. He was lost and was found. This is our story. It is the story of every one of us. This story should be true in our lives.
There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. (ESV)
The younger son left his father’s house and went into a far country. The father was troubled. There was great anguish. There were sleepless nights. It was a time of mourning because his son was lost and dead. There is great sorrow when a family member is lost and even more so if he is dead.
If a person forsakes his father’s house, he is lost and dead. If you leave God, you are lost. If you leave and go your own way, you are dead. God tells us that if we leave the father and his home, we are lost and dead. The father suffered for many years because of his lost son.
Then the miracle happened – God brought him back. God in His grace allowed the son to return to his father. It was a great day. When the father saw the son coming he ran to him, embraced and kissed him. The son said that he had sinned because he had forsaken his father. When the son returned to the father, his joy was great and there was rejoicing because his lost son was found and his dead son was alive. The father said, “Kill the fattened calf, the best calf, let us have a feast and celebrate. We want to be happy because my son was dead but now he is alive. He was lost but now he is found.”
This is one of the greatest stories that has ever been told. There is no story greater than this, especially if it is the story of your life – if you were the lost child and the dead child. If this story is true of your life then the greatest thing has happened to you.
Each one of us should have experienced this story – that we were lost but have been found, we were dead but we have come back to life.
This day was the greatest day the father and son could have wished for and it is the greatest day that can happen in our lives – the day we are found after being lost and the day we are alive after being dead.
When you, as God’s son, left the Father, you were lost and spiritually dead. But when you return to the Father, you are found and alive and there is rejoicing in heaven. If the fattened calf has not been slaughtered because of you, you are still lost and dead. If this story is true in your life, you have brought joy to heaven.
Jesus said there is rejoicing in heaven because of one person who has lost the way and returns to the father. Have they rejoiced in heaven because you have come back home? Are they rejoicing in heaven because of you or are they still crying about you? Has there been rejoicing in heaven because you are found and you are alive? Have they had that great feast because of you? Has the Father said you were lost but you are found? You were dead but now you are alive? How wonderful if we could all make those in heaven rejoice. How heart breaking if you are still lost and dead.
May God grant that this is true of your life.