This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Saturday, 5 March 2016
Luke 15:1-3,11-32 Going Home
Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables that make the same point. God loves the
lost. The lost sheep, the lost coin and a lost son are part of a trio whose
members are of increasing value. The lost sheep was one of one hundred, the
lost coin was one of ten, and the lost son was one of two. In the first
parable, Jesus is the shepherd; in the second, he is the woman; and in the
third he is the father who seeks his lost sons. Today I’m going to talk for
just a couple of minutes about the third and final parable.
centuries it has been called the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but a more
appropriate title would be the Parable of the Loving Father. While a father
might divide his estate before he died, the younger son’s request was cold and
scandalous because he was saying in effect that he wished his father was dead.
As the younger son, he received one-third of the estate, while the older brother
received two-thirds (as was the custom at that time).
you hear the word prodigal, you might think that it means “wayward” or
“rebellious”, and the younger son certainly behaved that way. The term
“prodigal” also means “recklessly spendthrift”, and the father acted that way.
He gave his sons everything they asked for and showered them with gifts. This
is an image for God. He lavishly spends his love on us from start to finish.
the younger son received his inheritance, he went away to a far country. This
was more than a reference to geography. It also referred to moral and spiritual
separation from God. The lowest point of this separation occurred when the
younger son spent all of his money and reached the point where he had to work
in a hog pen. Pigs were considered unclean animals for a Jew. Wanting to eat
the pods that were fed to the pigs was a sign that he had reached the lowest
point in his life. He had to come to this lowest point in order to realize how
foolish he had been. This is a picture of some of us. There are times when as
wayward sinners we have to come to the lowest point in our lives in order to
realize that we have been foolish by running away from God. It is at times like
these when we finally turn back to God and start the journey home to our
loving, heavenly Father.
prodigal son’s first words to his father fell short of repentance. Jewish
tradition viewed the statement “I have sinned against heaven and in your
sight…” as an attempt at manipulation. The father did not care about the son’s
words though. He just wanted him to return. Every day the father travelled a
great distance to a vantage point from which he could look for his son. When
the day came for the son to finally return, the father was so happy that he did
something that was very undignified for a first-century man to do. He ran to
meet his son. This is an image of God. God is so happy when we turn to him and
away from sin that he comes to meet us in the person of Jesus Christ. Just like
the father showered his son with kisses of compassion, forgiveness, acceptance
and restoration, God showers us with love and affection. Jesus even said that
there is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.
even loves people who stubbornly refuse to repent. A good example of someone
who refuses to repent is the older son. He rebelled by referring to his brother
as “this son of yours”. While the younger son was away, the older son continued
working and doing his duty without love. He reduced the father-son relationship
to a system of rewards in exchange for services rendered, much like an
employer-employee relationship. In spite of this father never stopped loving
older son also represents the Pharisees, who we heard about in Luke 15:1-3.
They hated sinners, especially tax collectors. Tax collectors worked for the
Romans, who occupied the territory. In addition, many tax collectors tried to
get rich by extorting more money that they were told to collect from people.
Jesus wanted the Pharisees to see that his purpose in coming to earth was the
very thing that prompted them to make accusations. His purpose was to reach out
with grace to sinners, and that is still his purpose today. Repentance and
forgiveness give birth to an authentic, loving parent-child relationship-and
that’s the type of relationship that Jesus wants to have with us.
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; pp. 1416-1418)
Charles R.: Swindoll’s New Testament
Insights on Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; 2012, pp. 382-389)
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