I’ve heard tons of messages and had many Bible studies led that focused significant time on the story of the prodigal son. It has to be one of the top 10 most recognizable Bible stories. The story spends most of its time focusing on the rebellious son. He is the one who squanders away everything; he is the one who goes against the wishes of his father; and he is the one who receives the ultimate gift from his dad: grace.
This story is a perfect analogy for our redemption through Christ. We are the sinners who are in need of grace; we are the ones who continually rebel against the wishes of our Father; and we have received the ultimate gift from our Dad: grace.
Yet I can’t help but wonder…Christians love to think of themselves as sinners, depraved. Obviously you could include me in that. I mean look at the name of my blog “man of depravity.” BUT, I think most often I reflect the other son by the way I live selfishly. I was reading a book titled Deliver Us From Me-Ville and was reminded about how selfish I can be. I do some great things, but even they are filled with selfish desires.
This is how the brother reacts to hearing about the treatment of his long lost brother upon his return (NIV):
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!”
In a nutshell, the other son’s response is me. I love to focus on myself, I love to think I have earned something, I love myself. I am humbled to look at this story from another perspective. Sure I’ve had my rebellious times (like the prodigal son), but most of the time I’m looking towards God wondering where my party is.