The story of the prodigal son is well entrenched in our faith community. You know how it goes:
Luke 15:13 – Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. (NIV)
From time to time, we hear of that age-old story in our contemporary families.
However, we get some good news, as Jesus' story does a 180-degree turn and describes how the returning prodigal son is gripped with remorse and shame. He "came to his senses", as Luke puts it in verse 17.
What is interesting about this story is not just the happy ending, but also the older son's displeasure at the father's warm welcoming-home party. Many have commented on that scene. Now let's think about the day after the party. What do you think that the two sons talked about? Was there friction between them? How do you think that the prodigal responded to sibling rivalry? Do you think that the confession of remorse and repentance by the prodigal lasted a month, a year, shorter, or longer? And what about the older brother? Did he come around to his father's point of view? We don't really know, do we? We don't know what happened after the party. But we do learn something far more valuable.
What we can discover from Luke's account is the value of personal repentance. Jesus' teaching lands solidly on the fact that God welcomes people into His family when they express a soul-felt repentance for their prodigality.
Is something holding you back from repenting and reconciling with a family member? Why not address it? You may not get a party, but you'll be party to a good news story for a lifetime.
Prayer: Thank You, Father in heaven, that this unique story reaches each one of us in some pointed way. May we follow the example of the prodigal's return or the example of his father's welcoming arms. We are grateful beyond words. We pray in the name of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "The Strife Is O'er" (Lyrics)