A Year with Jesus: 'A Father with Two Lost Sons'

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

Today, we focus on the final story in Luke's collection of three of My parables about finding lost things and lost sons. In today's story in the verses below, you meet a father who had two lost sons. One son stayed at home and saw himself as working hard for many years for his father — literally, he says to his father, "Listen, all these years I've worked hard for you." The other son told his father that he was as good as dead to him, so the son wanted the inheritance he was owed at his father's death, immediately.

Both sons were lost. The son who stayed at home and played the game to get what he felt was rightfully his was lost. The son who wanted his inheritance received it, and then left, was lost. Both sons received their proper share of the inheritance — don't miss that point: "And so the father liquidated assets and divided them." Here's the sad part: neither son appreciated the father. Both sons were lost.

Now remember from Luke's first two verses in the chapter what the situation was that led Me to tell this story as well as the previous stories about the lost sheep and the lost coin:
Jesus became increasingly popular among notorious sinners — tax collectors and other social outcasts. The Pharisees and religious scholars noticed this.

Pharisees and Religious Scholars:
This man welcomes immoral people and enjoys their company over a meal.
(Luke 15:1-2)
I wanted the "immoral people" to share My fellowship and come home to the heavenly Father by turning their lives away from sin and rebellion. I wanted the outwardly religious folks who thought they were honoring the heavenly Father with their religious games to turn from their self-righteousness and come home to their gracious and generous Father. Both were sinners. Both needed to come home.

So that leaves Me with two final questions:
  1. Which of these two sons are you more like?
  2. What do you need to do right now to turn your life completely over to Me and come home to the Father?

Verses to Live

Please hear the words that follow as My invitation to come home to the Father!

Jesus (with another parable):
Once there was this man who had two sons. One day the younger son came to his father and said, "Father, eventually I'm going to inherit my share of your estate. Rather than waiting until you die, I want you to give me my share now." And so the father liquidated assets and divided them. A few days passed and this younger son gathered all his wealth and set off on a journey to a distant land. Once there he wasted everything he owned on wild living. He was broke, a terrible famine struck that land, and he felt desperately hungry and in need. He got a job with one of the locals, who sent him into the fields to feed the pigs. The young man felt so miserably hungry that he wished he could eat the slop the pigs were eating. Nobody gave him anything.

So he had this moment of self-reflection: "What am I doing here? Back home, my father's hired servants have plenty of food. Why am I here starving to death? I'll get up and return to my father, and I'll say, 'Father, I have done wrong—wrong against God and against you. I have forfeited any right to be treated like your son, but I'm wondering if you'd treat me as one of your hired servants.'"

So he got up and returned to his father. The father looked off in the distance and saw the young man returning. He felt compassion for his son and ran out to him, enfolded him in an embrace, and kissed him.

The son said, "Father, I have done a terrible wrong in God's sight and in your sight too. I have forfeited any right to be treated as your son."

But the father turned to his servants and said, "Quick! Bring the best robe we have and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Go get the fattest calf and butcher it. Let's have a feast and celebrate because my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and has been found." So they had this huge party.

Now the man's older son was still out in the fields working. He came home at the end of the day and heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant said, "Your brother has returned, and your father has butchered the fattest calf to celebrate his safe return."

The older brother got really angry and refused to come inside, so his father came out and pleaded with him to join the celebration. But he argued back, "Listen, all these years I've worked hard for you. I've never disobeyed one of your orders. But how many times have you even given me a little goat to roast for a party with my friends? Not once! This is not fair! So this son of yours comes, this wasteful delinquent who has spent your hard-earned wealth on loose women, and what do you do? You butcher the fattest calf from our herd!"

The father replied, "My son, you are always with me, and all I have is yours. Isn't it right to join in the celebration and be happy? This is your brother we're talking about. He was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found again!"
(Luke 15:11-32)

Response in Prayer

O Father, thank You for Jesus' story of two lost sons. It grabs my heart. As You know, there are some days I am the younger and rebellious son. Please forgive me. I'm coming back home to You today. Some days I am the older brother, full of self-righteousness and wishing for the things I feel that I deserve as special treatment. Please forgive me. I'm coming back home to You today. In Jesus' name, I confess this. Amen.

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About This Devotional

A Year with Jesus is a daily devotional written to help us all reclaim Jesus as the daily Lord of our lives.

'A Year with Jesus' is written by Phil Ware.

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.