In the story of the prodigal son we see an example of reconciliation. Each believer must ask themselves who they are in the story – Are they the father or are they the older brother? Are they following Jesus with a heart of reconciliation?
Luke 15:11-32 NKJV
“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.
And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.
Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;
for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
A wealthy man had two sons. The youngest son demanded that his father give him his inheritance so that he could move away from home and live on his own. The father granted his youngest son his request. He divided his estate and gave his sons their shares.
The youngest son moved to a country far away and while there he wasted all his money. His disregard for his father had separated him from his family. After the son had spent all his money, a famine spread across the land. The only job (work) that he could find was feeding pigs. Since he was a Jew, this was a very humiliating. Pigs were considered unclean, and their meat was forbidden as food. The son was so hungry that he desired to eat the food he was feeding to the pigs. One day the son realized his sin against God and his father. He decided to return home to ask for a job as a hired servant, at least that way he would have food.
While the son was on his way home, a great way off, his father saw him coming. The father ran out to meet his returning son. The two embraced and the son confessed his sin and unworthiness to his father.
The father gave his son a robe, a ring, and sandals as a sign of his full acceptance and forgiveness. Then the father had his servants prepare a celebration for his returning son.
The oldest brother had been in the field working and upon his arrival at the house he heard a celebration. He became very angry when he was told that it was for his returning brother. He found fault in his brother and he did not think that the younger brother deserved a celebration because of his past.
The father had to leave the celebration and go out to the older son. Because of his anger, judgmental attitude, and self-pity the older brother would not even come into the house where the celebration was taking place.
The father had reconciled the son unto himself and his family, and he had expected the older son to do the same. Instead of having the father’s heart of reconciliation, the older brother was not pleasing to see or hear.
The father looked at the youngest son’s future – what it could be. The older brother looked at his younger brother’s past – what it had been.
At salvation we become a new creature. Our relationship with God changes. We become reconciled to God and we have the privilege and responsibility of telling others that they can receive the same reconciliation. Do you look at a person’s future – what they could be in Christ, or do you look at their past – where they have been?”
Thank-you for the salvation that You have freely given me. I did not have to work for it or earn it in any way. It was a free gift given to me. At salvation I became a new creation – my relationship with You changed. Through Jesus I became reconciled to You. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to tell others that they can receive the same reconciliation. May I follow Jesus’ example with a heart of reconciliation. Help me to look at a person’s future – what they can be in Christ, and not at their past – where they have been. Fill me with compassion for the lost – even those who have brought trouble on themselves.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.