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Luke 15:1-2. 1  Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.  2  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”. Two Lost Sons. Luke 15:11-13. Act 1 of the Drama.

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Luke 15:1-2


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  1. Luke 15:1-2 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

  2. Two Lost Sons Luke 15:11-13

  3. Act 1 of the Drama Luke 15:11-1311 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

  4. The Younger Son’s Plan “Father, give me my share of the estate.” • Inheritance customs meant he got 1/3 of the estate • Inheritance was in land…not money

  5. The Younger Son’s Plan “Father, give me my share of the estate.” • Inheritance customs meant he got 1/3 of the estate • Inheritance was in land…not money “To suddenly lose one third of their total wealth would mean a staggering loss to the entire family clan. The parable specifically states that the prodigal settled his affairs in a few days. This means that he liquidated his assets in a hurry, which in turn indicates a ‘sale at any price.’ The accumulated economic gains of generations would be lost in a few days.” -Kenneth E. Bailey in The Cross and the Prodigal

  6. The Younger Son’s Plan “Father, give me my share of the estate.” • Inheritance customs meant he got 1/3 of the estate • Inheritance was in land…not money • Inheritance came with responsibility • Inheritance was not just in material possessions

  7. The Younger Son’s Plan “Father, give me my share of the estate.” • Inheritance customs meant he got 1/3 of the estate • Inheritance was in land…not money • Inheritance came with responsibility • Inheritance was not just in material possessions “A man’s security in the village is his family. This is as precious to him as life itself. His family is his social security, his insurance, his old-age pension, his assurance of marriage, his physical and emotional well-being; in short, it is everything. The tie to the land and to the ‘house of so-and-so’ is a profound tie.” -Kenneth E. Bailey in The Cross and the Prodigal

  8. The Younger Son’s Plan “Father, give me my share of the estate.” • Inheritance customs meant he got 1/3 of the estate • Inheritance was in land…not money • Inheritance came with responsibility • Inheritance was not just in material possessions • Inheritance is “owned” even before it is given “Father, I wish you were dead!!!”

  9. The Younger Son’s Problem Luke 15:13 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. The younger son was detached, self-reliant, and lacked a healthy identity in his father’s house.

  10. Conclusions & Applications • We are all mutinous like the younger son. • We are all ruled by inherent self-interest. • Our primary offense & problem is that we have broken relationship with the Father. • We want privilege without responsibility. • When things don’t go our way, we tend to bolt! • We are all searching for our true home…and for our true Father…

  11. Conclusions & Applications “Leaving home is, then, much more than an historical event bound to time and place. It is a denial of the spiritual reality that I belong to God with every part of my being, that God holds me safe in an eternal embrace, that I am indeed carved in the palms of God’s hands and hidden in their shadows. Leaving home means ignoring the truth that God has ‘fashioned me in secret, molded me in the depths of the earth and knitted me together in my mother’s womb.’ Leaving home is living as though I do not yet have a home and must look far and wide to find one.” -Henri Nouwen in The Return of the Prodigal Son • We are all mutinous like the younger son. • We are all ruled by inherent self-interest. • Our primary offense & problem is that we have broken relationship with the Father. • We want privilege without responsibility. • When things don’t go our way, we tend to bolt! • We are all searching for our true home…and for our true Father…

  12. The Most Shocking Event in Act 1? “he divided his property between them” • “property” is not just stuff • bios = his life; livelihood; self The father was willing to suffer for his son in order to keep alive the hope of reconciliation with his son…this laid the foundation for the son’s future return. • This was a prodigal choice (recklessly extravagant!!)

  13. Conclusions & Applications • God has granted us freedom even to turn away from Him (all have done this) • God could completely cut us off because of our rebellion • He has allowed His life to be torn for our sakes • Jesus’ death for us provides opportunity for us to return and be restored to the Father

  14. The Elephant in the Room in Act 1? “he divided his property between them” • Where is the elder brother? • What should the elder brother have done? • Should have been a proactive mediator

  15. What does this reveal about the elder brother? • He has a fractured relationship with either his father, his younger brother, or both • His dutiful service to his father is self-serving • He may be part of the reason that the younger son left home!!! • He is a coward without a secure sense of identity in the father’s house • He is also lost, even though he has not left home…

  16. What does this reveal about the elder brother? • He has a fractured relationship with either his father, his younger brother, or both • His dutiful service to his father is self-serving • He may be part of the reason that the younger son left home!!! • He is a coward without a secure sense of identity in the father’s house • He is also lost, even though he has not left home… “Not only did the younger son, who left home to look for freedom and happiness in a distant country, get lost, but the one who stayed home also became a lost man. Exteriorly he did all the things a good son is supposed to do, but, interiorly, he wandered away from his father. He did his duty, worked hard every day, and fulfilled all his obligations but became increasingly unhappy and unfree.” -Henri Nouwen in The Return of the Prodigal Son

  17. Conclusions & Applications • Many of us have spent our lives dutifully serving the Father, but wandered from His heart • Our dutiful service to God is often self-serving • Many of us are pitiful elder brothers to the world around us • Often times, we are part of the reason that lost younger brothers don’t come back to the Father • Many of us are still lost in the midst of our dutiful service to God

  18. Luke 15:1-2 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

  19. Both Sons are Lost Both sons needed to make the journey home to the heart of the father. Both sons needed to repent & cast themselves at the father’s feet. Both sons needed to allow themselves to be found by the father in the midst of their lostness.