Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Prodigal Father

Who’s the Prodigal Now? Luke 15:20, 22-24
Luke 15:20 `... and he being yet far distant, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and having ran he fell upon his neck and kissed him; ...22 `And the father said unto his servants, [Quickly] Bring forth the first robe, and clothe him, and give a ring for his hand, and sandals for the feet; 23 and having brought the fatted calf, kill it, and having eaten, we may be merry, 24 because this my son was dead, and did live again, and he was lost, and was found; and they began to be merry.' ESV

Where had the son just come from? From the Pig Sty. One of the smelliest places you can imagine. Worse than a sheep pen the day after it rains. (All that wet wool-yuck.) But pigs are worse.
Ever heard the expression: “Stinks to High Heaven”? He probably did. Not to mention he had walked from a far country in that condition. Would YOU kiss him?

Then The Father ran. “Throwing off oriental custom”(Robert H. Stein), this behavior is ‘beneath’ a man of his status and shameful. (see John MacArthur) Why does he do it?
Why did God send his only begotten son? Jn 3:16 L_____
Why did Jesus endure the cross despising the shame? Heb 12:2 J____
Why does the shepherd leave the 99 for one? Lu 15:2,4,8 Eagerness to save.

Remember What PRODIGAL means?  Extravagant! The son threw away money and wasted his life extravagantly.
But Now the Father behaves Extravagantly! Extravagant Grace!
2Co 4:15 all things are for your sake, so that the superabounding grace might be made to abound (MKJV) or, as the Geneva Bible put it...that most plenteous grace.
Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offense death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ.) & v.20; 2 Cor 9:8, 14
Eph 1:7 we have redemption...according to the riches of His grace, & 2:7
1Ti 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant,
Jas 4:6 But He gives more grace. 1 Pe 1:2 Grace be multiplied... &4:10
God always has MORE GRACE! Isn't that an amazing and wonderful truth? The riches of His grace are unfathomable. 

"Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace.
Freely bestowed on all who believe! 
You that are longing to see His face, 
Will you this moment His grace receive?

22 But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly...”
HERE is the urgency, do this without delay! God is not slow to save!

The Robe: The Best, of First Rank, for official wear or formal occasions.
-Not his old one he left behind (it’s gone),  
not the stinking rags he had on,  that would never do.
not a servant’s robe, nor his other son’s. 
The Father’s Best Robe, His #1 Tux!
Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah ... for He has clothed me with the robes of salvation, He covered me with the robe of righteousness like a bridegroom ... and like a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Rev 7:9 After these things I looked, and lo, a great multitude, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes...
What other is the greatest sign of the Father's owning, and blessing, and provision but that whic symbolizes His purity, holiness, righteousness, and salvation

The Ring: symbol of the Father for his hand (hand=authority and power)
The learned Jews of the day were aware that just a century before Christ came another ruler, Antiochus made provision for his successors in 1 Maccabee 6:14 "Then called he for Philip, ...who he made ruler over all his realm, 15 And gave him the crown, and his robe, and his signet, ..."
The ring signified the authority of sonship. This is ‘positional’ sonship.

The Sandals: The prosperity and “Place” of sonship. This is "Personal" sonship. He didn’t say, “here’s the signet ring, go get your own shoes." God provided from His Extravagant Grace all that pertains to our sonship!

But Wait, that's not all!

The Fatted Calf! Uh-oh, I see a problem brewing here. This was ‘in effect’ the Older son’s calf, and sandals, and robe, and ring! The Father is practicing a type of “Usufruct.” Which usually means enjoying the use and 'fruits' of another man's property. Like when you raise crops on rented land, the land isn't yours but you benefit from it.
In a more ancient version, it’s His son’s property at his death, but until then he can do as he pleases. This doesn't diminish the grace the Father has for his older son. The cattle will have more calves, his income will purchase more robes and sandals and rings.
It's the Fathers to do with "as He pleases." This is the heart of God's Providential sovereign grace. 

Now notice, Jesus never gets to the need for atonement directly in this parable. That is not his point. He is talking to the common people-who are hanging on his teachings, and the Scribes and Pharisees-who are trying to find fault with his teaching. And he is telling the latter group that God welcomes sinners without their attempts at earning forgiveness. God is eagerly, joyfilly, lovingly, welcoming home an extremely offensive son without so much as demanding an apology. The Father didn't even let the son finish his speech!

But even though no mention of atonement is made, a calf still gets killed and blood is still shed - for merrymaking. There is joy in heaven over ONE sinner who repents!

Let’s Celebrate! He was dead- as good as dead, assumed dead- but in our case-we Were Dead! Eph 2:1 He made you alive, who were dead...& 2:5; also Rom 6:13, 7:11, Col 2:13, 1 Pe 4:6.     

Why is the recognition of our deadness without Christ important. One to signify that our salvation is ALL OF GRACE! and second, to remind us of the words of Christ: Joh 15:5 ...He who abides in Me ... brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

(For further study let me recommend John MacArthur's A Tale of Two Sons. And thanks to the folks at extragrace.blogspot for loaning me ;-) the logo, oh and Rembrandt and Guercino.)

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from rain soaked Southern California.

    I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to :-)

    May God bless you and your family in 2011 ~Ron

    And always remember... Smiles don't have to be saved for a rainy day. It's good to waste them :-)


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