When the father of the Prodigal Son decided to have a feast in celebration of his lost child’s return, the elder son became enraged. Feeling unappreciated and overlooked, the older son believed that his own faithful service to his father deserved recognition far more than the irresponsible behavior of his brother. Like many today, he believed that love and acceptance is based on “earned” actions, not on the sheer mercy of the God our Father.
Chapter 15 is at the very heart of Luke’s gospel. Luke tells us that the tax collectors and so-called sinners had gathered round to hear Jesus, but that those known as religious men, the Pharisees and teachers of the law, were not paying much attention. Jesus ends Chapter 14 with this instruction; "He who has ears, let him hear." Clearly most of us have ears, so He is really encouraging all those who are listening to pay very close attention to what He is saying. It is striking, therefore, that those who were listening intently were the kind of people about whom it would have been said there was very little hope. And the ones paying scant attention were those known for their religious prowess.
In making this simple statement Jesus masterfully shows up the faulty thinking of the Pharisees. In the five parables that follow, He reveals for the listening sinners the wonder of God’s searching love.
The third of these parables, The Parable of the Lost Son, is perhaps one of the best known of the Bible. Most of us are only too familiar with the rebellious son, the loving father and the petulant brother. Have we, though, ever really listened to what these verses and indeed the other parables teach us? Are we hearing Him?
In this set of messages Alistair Begg leads an in-depth study of these verses in order that we might truly discover what our own ‘Loving Father’ would have us hear. This series is bound to unwrap much of what we yet need to take hold.