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God accepts the repentant sinner
Bible Passage Luke 15: 11- 32
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2024 & books Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Luke.

God accepts the repentant sinner

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached April 1, 2024

11 Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons.

12 The younger one told his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So the father divided his property between them.

13 A few days later, the younger son gathered everything he owned and traveled to a distant country. There he wasted it all on wild living.

14 After he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need.

15 So he went out to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.

16 No one would give him anything, even though he would gladly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating.

17 “Then he came to his senses and said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more food than they can eat, and here I am starving to death!

18 I will get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and you.

19 I don’t deserve to be called your son anymore. Treat me like one of your hired men.”’

20 “So he got up and went to his father. While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him affectionately.

21 Then his son told him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and you. I don’t deserve to be called your son anymore.’

22 But the father told his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let’s eat and celebrate!

24 Because my son was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now the father’s older son was in the field. As he was coming back to the house, he heard music and dancing.

26 So he called to one of the servants and asked what was happening.

27 The servant told him, ‘Your brother has come home, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he got him back safely.’

28 “Then the older son became angry and wouldn’t go into the house. So his father came out and began to plead with him.

29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! All these years I’ve worked like a slave for you. I’ve never disobeyed a command of yours. Yet you’ve never given me so much as a young goat for a festival so I could celebrate with my friends.

30 But this son of yours spent your money on prostitutes, and when he came back, you killed the fattened calf for him!’

31 “His father told him, ‘My child, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and has been found.’”

In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables to answer the scribes and Pharisees, who had complained that He mixed with tax collectors and other low-class people. The parables are:
1. The lost sheep
2. The lost coin &
3. The prodigal son

The more respectable Jews considered the tax collectors and low-class people unworthy of God’s blessings. They were angry that Jesus showed interest in them and that many of them responded to His message.

The law allowed the oldest son to receive two-thirds of his father’s property (Deuteronomy 21:17). This was because, after his father’s death, he would have much responsibility for assuming the hectic role of the new leader of the head of the family. The second son would therefore receive only a third of the property.

The younger son wanted to enjoy himself. He did not want to wait until his father died. He hurried to be free. He went as far away as possible to enjoy the freedom to the fullest. He bought whatever he wanted had fun and paid for entertainment. He had a ‘good’ time but he wasted all his money.

The famine in the country made his situation worse. Food would be more expensive and people would not be as willing or able to share their food.

The only job available was to feed pigs. Jews considered pigs to be ‘unclean’ animals (Leviticus 11:17). But the son accepted a job to look after pigs. He must have been desperate. When things were worse, he ate some of the food for the pigs.

The son recognized that sin against his father was also sin against God. The loving father must have been watching for his son to return. He saw his son from a long way off. It was unusual for an older person to run as the father did. People would think that it was not right for him to run.

The son was going to ask to be like one of his father’s workers. The father prevented him as he gave his son a great welcome home.

The best clothes given by the father showed his honourable position. The ring was evidence of his authority. Slaves had bare feet. Therefore, the son had shoes. This showed that he was free and was not a slave.

The father felt as if a dead son had come back to life. He was ‘lost’ to his father when he went away. He was ‘found’ when he decided to return.

In the parable is a contrast between those who considered they had done everything right and needed no repentance (the elder brother) and those who were sinners but who knew it (the younger brother) (verses 11-19). There is also a contrast between the pardoning love of God (the father who welcomes the rebel home) and the cold and merciless attitude of the Pharisees (the older brother who was angry because of the welcome the rebel received) (verses 20-30).

The older brother was like the Pharisees. His work was a strict duty. He did not serve his father because he loved him. The Pharisees obeyed the law, but they did not love God. The son did not understand how his father felt. The Pharisees did not believe that God would welcome sinners.

In verse 30, the older son would not say ‘my brother’ but he said ‘this son of yours’. He was trying to blame the father when he said that. He accused his brother that he had spent all his father’s money. But the younger brother had spent only his share. The older brother could not know what his brother had spent his money on. He imagined that his brother had done terrible things. He may have been right, but he did not speak with love. The older brother was angry and jealous.

The father emphasized in verse 31 that he loved both his sons. The older one should have enjoyed being at home with the father. He still had his share of the property. The father corrects the words ‘this son of yours’ when he says ‘this brother of yours’.

Because the Pharisees knew God’s law, they had an advantage over the tax collectors, but because they were self-righteous they never saw themselves as ‘dead’ or ‘lost’. They therefore never came to God in repentance. As a result, they were left out of the kingdom, but sinners entered it (verses 31-32).

🔷 Every sin against fellow human beings is simply a sin against God.

🔷 Money and wealth without God is rather very harmful

🔷 We must show great remorse, repent, and be willing to offer an unqualified apology for our misdoings

🔷 Our anger and jealousy can never prevent God from being merciful to those who come to Him.

💥 Ask God to forgive your jealousy and anger
💥 Pray for wandering brothers and sisters

God welcomes all those who return to Him in genuine repentance and total reliance on Him. Our anger and jealousy may never stop God from being generous to sinners who return to Him. God welcomes sinners whom He forgives. Christians have to decide whether to have the same attitude as the father or to be like the older brother.

In series Bright Morning Reflections