One Lost Son
I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both
heaven and you” (v.18).
This story of the prodigal son is one of the most
famous and familiar of Jesus’ parables. And the
most personal. For it touches an area that is often
the most painful—our children.
In the parables of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7) and lost
coin (vv.8-10), the emphasis is on the lostness and the
relentless efforts of the owners to recover what was lost
(vv.4,8). The sheep was lost due to its natural propensity
or weakness to stray; the coin through carelessness. But the
son was lost because of his own willful sinfulness (vv.11-13).
Instead of a seeking shepherd and a searching
woman, we have a waiting father. The aggrieved father
did not relentlessly pursue his wayward son. Instead, he
patiently waited for the son to return. Undoubtedly, the
father had perseveringly prayed for his son to come “to
his senses” (v.17).
The turnaround came when the son willed to “go
home to [his] father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned
against both heaven and you’” (v.18). The son also took
deliberate steps to come home: “So he returned home to
his father” (v.20).
Why didn’t the father go and search for his lost son?
The first two stories made it clear that Jesus came to seek
and save those who are lost (19:10). But this third story
of the prodigal son emphasizes the responsibility of the
lost—the need for us to repent. The longsuffering Father
patiently and lovingly waits for us to return home. “While he was still a long
way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran
to his son, embraced him, and kissed him” (v.20). The son’s guilty sinfulness is
overshadowed only by the Father’s gracious forgiveness.
Have you willfully left home? Come back to your senses!
Why was the older brother so upset with the reception his younger
brother received from the father? (Luke 15:25). At this point in your life,
are you most like the father, the older brother, or the younger son?
Why didn’t the father stop his son from leaving home and ruining his
young life? What would you have done?