As we wrap up our series on the prodigal son, I will make some comments...First let us go back to the beginning. By this I mean, let us talk about why this parable was told by our Lord Jesus. We did not go over this in our study yet. To answer this question we need to go back to the beginning of Luke 15:1-3 "Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." So He told them this parable, saying." If we read all the way down to the end of the chapter it seems that He told them three parables in a row.
As with the parable of the prodigal son, there are three groups of people. The first being tax collectors and sinners, the second being Jesus and the third being the Pharisees and scribes. Each of these three groups are represented in our parable. The tax collectors and sinners are represented by the younger son. Jesus is represented by the Father. The Pharisees and scribes are represented by the older son. O.K. this is what I learned from studying different commentaries.
Now isn't it a wonderful thing when sinners, come near to listen to word of God? Yes, it is. Rom. 10:14 "How then will they call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" And even how more wonderful when one comes to his senses, believing...in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. It is wonderful for me, it is wonderful for you and it is going to be wonderful for all sinners that God redeems. Let's face it, how "ugly" were we before salvation, or how "ugly" would we be if Christ didn't reach out to us and saved us? Sin is sin and it is "ugly".
Now as to Jesus and the Father; let's keep it simple God in three persons, but one. As to the Pharisees and scribes, represented by the older son. The two of them grumbled about people coming to Jesus Christ. As we believer's, become older...sometimes we also can grumble about people coming to know Jesus...You see it is easy for us to forget we were saved by grace...that the mercy of God reached down...Saved us from our "ugly" self. And instead we start to look for works...to prove ones acceptance into the kingdom of God. We even do that to ourselves...but works don't save, works don't even keep you in the kingdom of God, only the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ can do that. Now faith without works does come into play...
We looked at this parable in a different way, trying to understand each character, and to see if we can identify with each. We all were like the younger son and even now sometimes we still act like him in areas of our life or in our Christian walk. Now we also can identify with the older son, works, devotion...and maybe even scorning the work of our Lord Jesus in calling sinners to Himself. Now as the father can we also be loving, forgiving...showing mercy...when we see the so called "ugly" of people. Telling of the good news... Being excited about people hearing the good news... Let's be real hear, the "ugly" shows up a lot; not just in others but even in ourselves. We need the love of the Father forever! We need to be also showing the love of the Father as we go through our life. You see the Christian life starts from being "ugly" without God...to believing...on Jesus, God. Now that "ugly" starts to change; but it still shows up. We need to confess, our "ugly" just like we did at the beginning of our Christian walk. Just as we want Jesus to forgive us of our "ugly" so also let us be willing to forgive others of their "ugly". It's a life time thing!