“My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
Luke 15:31-32 (NIV)
Luke 15 contains three parables about something being lost and later being found:
- the lost sheep
- the lost coin
- the lost son (prodigal son).
In the parables about the lost sheep and the lost coin the people concerned spent a considerable amount of energy and time finding what had been lost.
The parable of the lost son is different to the other two parables in at least one respect. Reading Luke 15 you can see that in the case of the lost son the father didn’t look for the son. However, we read in verse 20 that ‘… while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him.’
Here was a father who was waiting patiently for his son to return to him. The passage in Luke tells us that the son finally came to his senses and only then did he decide to go home.
In all three parables the reaction to finding what had been lost was to have a celebration. In the first two parables Jesus spiritualises the message by saying that there will be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. So the parables aren’t really about things being lost, they are about things being found; about people being found.
The parable of the lost son is a picture of someone who comes to his senses, repents and returns to his father. The spiritual message is clear. God as our Father waits patiently for people to come to their senses, to repent and to return to him. God rejoices over every single person who returns to him.
Have you realised that when you committed your life to Christ you became an object of rejoicing in heaven.
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