NOT WITHOUT REASON, THIS HAS BEEN CALLED THE GREATEST SHORT STORY IN THE WORLD. UNDER JEWISH LAW, A FATHER WAS NOT FREE TO LEAVE HIS PROPERTY AS HE LIKED. THE ELDER SON GETS TWO-THIRDS, AND THE YOUNGER ONE-THIRD, (DEUTERONOMY 21:17.) IT WAS BY NO MEANS USUAL FOR A FATHER TO DISTRIBUTE HIS ESTATE BEFORE HE DIED. BUT THERE IS A CERTAIN HEARTLESS CALLOUSNESS IN THE REQUEST OF THE YOUNGER SON. HE SAID IN EFFECT, "GIVE ME NOW PART OF THE ESTATE I WILL GET ANYWAY WHEN YOU ARE DEAD, AND LET ME GET OUT OF THIS." THE FATHER DID NOT ARGUE. HE KNEW THAT IF THE SON WAS EVER TO LEARN HE MUST LEARN THE HARD WAY, AND HE GRANTED HIS REQUEST. WITHOUT DELAY, THE SON REALIZED HIS SHARE OF THE PROPERTY AND LEFT HOME.
HE SOON RAN OUT OF MONEY, AND HE ENDED UP FEEDING THE PIGS, A TASK THAT WAS FORBIDDEN TO A JEW, BECAUSE THE LAW SAID, "CURSED IS HE WHO FEEDS PIGS." THEN JESUS PAID SINNING MANKIND THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT IT HAS EVER BEEN PAID. "WHEN HE CAME TO HIMSELF," HE SAID. JESUS BELIEVED THAT SO LONG AS A MAN WAS AWAY FROM GOD, HE WAS NOT TRULY HIMSELF; HE WAS ONLY HIMSELF WHEN HE WAS ON HIS WAY HOME. [BEYOND A DOUBT JESUS DID NOT BELIEVE IN TOTAL DEPRAVITY.] HE BELIEVED THAT MAN WAS NEVER ESSENTIALLY HIMSELF UNTIL HE CAME BACK TO GOD.
SO, THE SON DECIDED TO COME HOME, AND PLEAD TO BE TAKEN BACK NOT AS A SON BUT IN THE LOWEST RANK OF SLAVES, THE HIRED SERVANT, A DAY LABORER. HE CAME HOME. ACCORDING TO THE BEST GREEK TEXT, HIS FATHER NEVER GAVE HIM A CHANCE TO BE A SERVANT. THE ROBE STANDS FOR HONOR; THE RING FOR AUTHORITY, THE SHOES FOR A SON, NOT A SLAVE. ALSO, A FEAST WAS MADE THAT ALL MIGHT REJOICE AT THE WANDERERS RETURN.
THIS PARABLE TELLS US TWO THINGS: (1ST) IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN CALLED THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON BECAUSE THE SON IS NOT THE HERO. IT SHOULD BE CALLED "THE PARABLE OF THE LOVING FATHER." IT TELLS US RATHER ABOUT A FATHER'S LOVE THAN A SON'S SIN. (2ND) IT TELLS US MUCH ABOUT THE FORGIVENESS OF GOD. THE FATHER WAS WATCHING AND WAITING. WHEN THE SON CAME HOME, HE FORGAVE HIM WITH NO RECRIMINATIONS.
Life Application: If you were the father, would you be standing, and waiting, or would you just have said "good-bye"?
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, I cry out to You for every child that has left home just to look for what they think they want. I don't believe that they will ever find what they are looking for outside of You. You are their answer. Amen!