Prodigal is defined as extravagant and reckless.
Books to buy: Wendell Berry – fiction; Roland Muellers Shame and Honor: – 3 World Views
The Big Idea: The basis of our passion is not the outward execution of religious duties, but the recklessly extravagant love of our father.
I. Remember the context of the parable
We see in verse 1 and 2 that Christ spoke this to the religious elite who had even memorized much of the OT; this is where we get the idea that there are TWO lost sons;
II. Get the world view right
Which one of the main 3 world views was the culture in which Jesus lived?
a. Guilt and innocence
b. Fear and power
c. Shame and honor
III. Find the surprises
If you read this through the lens of Shame and Honor as Christ would have spoken it to that culture, we find at least 5 key observations:
a. Son wishes the father were dead definition of sin (v12 get the inheritance before the father is dead)
b. The father lets his son go (v13) Romans 1:18ff therefore God gave them up v24, 26, 28 Paul describes a culture that sees evidence of a Creator but lives as though He is dead.
c. Grown men in this culture do not run it is shameful (v22): Deut 21:18ff stoning of rebellious sons; if the father does not run, the son is dead because he will be taken to the elders and stoned; so if you stone him, you stone the father too; that is the picture of the cross!
d. Son receives more than he had before he receives the cultural equivalent of a credit card signet ring (v22); the oldest would have received ½ to ¾ of the fathers estate and the younger the rest. But he get more than he had before.
e. The father talks with the older brother (v28); in this culture, the older brother should have chased down the younger brother and bid him to come home. He does not, instead, he stays home and says to his father why do you not love me on the basis for all that I am doing for you?
IV. Discover the third way of the gospel
a. Not religion (the older brother)
b. Not irreligion (the younger brother)
I am more sinful that I will ever understand, and I am more loved than I will ever comprehend. Tim Keller, Prodigal God
Conclusion: Both sons were lost. Do we want God for what we can get from Him or do we want God for wanting just him? He is our passion and because of His reckless love, he draws us to himself to satisfy us in Him, which brings him glory!