PARABLES DAY 13 - 18 May 2018

Ben Fourie

“He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20b

In the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg one can see the world famous Rembrandt painting depicting the return of the prodigal son. It is a huge painting that takes away your breath. Have a look at it on Internet. The artist captured exactly what Jesus wanted us to understand when he told this story. There are quite a few subjects worth exploring in this parable, like the irresponsibility of the younger son who squandered his inheritance or the disgruntled attitude of the elder brother, but they are all subtitles to the true meaning. Central to this story of a son who lost his way in life, is the love of a father. “For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found” (Luke 15:24)

This parable is the third of a trio in Luke 15 about something being lost. The other two is about a lost coin and a lost sheep. They each gives a certain perspective on “being lost” but the central theme is the joy when that which was lost, has been found again. In the case of the lost sheep the owner is so glad of finding it that he invites his friends and neighbours to celebrate with him and we read that there will be joy in heaven over one sinner that repents. In the case of the coin that was lost and found the woman also invites her friends and neighbours for a celebration and we hear that the angels rejoice over one sinner who repents.

In the story of the lost son we reach the pinnacle of these stories as it is now a father who is overcome with joy when his wayward son returns home. In the Old Testament we see how God welcomed back his errant chosen people even after they had strayed by worshipping a golden calf and other idols. Just think of the beautiful words of Isaiah 9:2, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” By delivering his Son to be crucified the Father made it possible for everyone of us to return to our Father's house.

Prayer: Thank you Father that I could come to you, although I was dead through sin, you welcomed me back with great joy. Amen

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