During our current national crisis, most of us have drawn closer to family, friends and God.
Jesus told the story of a Father with two sons to illustrate how humanity relates to God. Known as the parable of the prodigal son, it is actually about two lost sons.
The younger son had the audacity to ask for his portion of his inheritance while the father was still alive. The father agrees. The younger son leaves the house, and seeking to live independently from his father, goes out wasting all his money in wild living.
When the party is over, the friends are gone, and life gets rough. He has hit rock bottom. He is homeless, hungry and homesick.
At his worst time of crisis, he comes to his senses. He needs to go back home and reconcile with dad!
He heads home, and while he is still a long way off, his father sees him coming, and without wasting a second, filled with love and compassion, runs towards his son, embraces him and kisses him! The son asks for forgiveness. He wants to pay back the debt. But the father is too busy welcoming him. A new robe, a new ring and new sandals are brought for the prodigal. It’s time to celebrate!
When the older brother comes home from working on the fields, he hears the music and the dancing; he asks what’s going on. One of the servants tells him: your brother is back, and your dad has made a huge party to welcome him!
The older brother is angry and refuses to go in. The father comes out and begs him to go in. “All these years I’ve slaved for you and never disobeyed you. You have never given me a goat to enjoy with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after wasting your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf.” Humanity can be lost in bad living; most of us recognize this as sin.
But what Jesus is saying here, is that you can also be lost in good living. The older brother represents those who are lost in religion. They are performance-driven, high achievers, proud individuals. They are working hard, trying to earn what can only be received by grace.
Both sons are after the father’s things, but not after his heart! The good thing is that our Heavenly Father loves us and is reaching out to both sons. Whether you are lost in vices or in rules, during this pandemic, God is inviting you to come back Home!
By Pastor Cesar Buitrago, Patterson Christian Fellowship Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.