The Lost Boys
Gracious God, thank You for bringing me into Your present and eternal kingdom. Strengthen my interactive relationship with You.
Read Luke 15:11–32
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
One smelled of pigs and the other of piety, but both needed to be found.
Sometimes the insertions of Bible translators are helpful; sometimes they are not. This story has been given the title “The Prodigal Son,” but it is actually a parable about two lost sons. The younger son grabs the money and runs to the bright lights. The Pharisee within us looks at his behavior and sees a lost boy, but if we focus all our attention on the pig-hugging son our eyes are drawn away from the pious son. He never left home, but he never truly understood the loving heart of his father. Though he stayed, he was as lost as his brother.
Jesus’ audience is represented by the two sons. The inner circle of the feast is full of pig-hugging sinners, the sort of people whom, according to the religious people, God hates. They deserve everything they get. The outer circle is filled with good men of God: Pharisees, separated and holy, experts in the Scriptures and worthy of any place in the kingdom.
As Jesus speaks of the younger son, the sinners there know that the spotlight is on their hearts and their behavior and they feel the challenge. When Jesus speaks of the older son, eyes lift to the outer circle, to the phylacteries, robes and tassels, to the self-righteous angry sons who believe themselves privileged and fit to judge their pig-hugging brothers. Jesus appeals to both sons. He loves the Pharisees as much as he loves the sinners—and he knows how hard it is for both to admit that they are wrong and to return to the love of the Father.
Don’t allow your heart to get lost in the house of the Father. The eldest son never left, but he never caught and understood the heart of his father.
How can you keep your heart burning in worship and obedience for him?
Father, I pray my heart will always be tender towards You, and loving towards those who need You.
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