Celebrating Reconciliation

Key Verse: “This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
—Luke 15:24

Selected Scripture:
Luke 15:1, 2, 11-24

TODAY’S LESSON, based on Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, has been regarded by many as one of the masterpieces of the great Teacher. In the parable, the father who had two sons represents God. The elder son represented those who remained loyal to God in their outward profession, at least, and outwardly kept his law. The younger son represented those not so religiously strict as to their ideals. This class misused their privileges and opportunities as members of the nation of Israel, beneficiaries of the Divine promises who wasted their opportunities in self-gratification, not attempting to live godly lives.

Relating this parable, Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he [the man] divided his property between them [his two sons].” (Luke 15:11,12, New International Version) After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property, left home with the money and went to a country far away, where he wasted it all in reckless living. He spent everything he had. When a severe famine spread over that country, he was left without a thing. So he went to work for a citizen of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods which the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. At last he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.”—vss. 17-19, NIV

So he got up and started back to his father. He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him. “Father,” the son said, “I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father called to his servants. “Quick!” he said. “Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.”—Luke 15:20-23, NIV

How grandly this illustrates to us the love of God—the best robe, the fattened calf and the other attentions given to the repentant son well illustrate the provision God has made for all who return to him from the ways of sin. The robe and all the blessings are provided through Christ—covering for all the imperfections of the fallen nature.

While our Lord was known to be friendly toward sinners, he was never known to condone sin. From this standpoint the feast of fat things provided for the sinners in Israel corresponds to the feast to be opened ultimately to the whole world of mankind. Thus under the kingdom arrangement (Isa. 25:6), all may return to the Father’s house and all who do return will be received of God through Christ.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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