Jesus’ Parables You and Father
I'm going to examine some stories that Jesus used when teaching. People seem to think that Jesus used stories to make thing clear, but that is not what He said about them. In Matthew 13, we read that the disciples specifically asked Him about the stories. Here's what he said:
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
So, then, the surface meaning of the stories is not the actual intent. Examine the stories in Luke 15. In fact, these are variously titled "The Lost Sheep", "The Lost Coin" and "The Lost Son", each of which misses the point that the stories are about the shepherd (Jesus), the woman (representing the Holy Spirit) and the Father.. Read them here and then read on.
Remember, we are talking about the Master's Keys here. This key is the heart of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit towards humanity.
The sheep (or lamb) is definitely lost at the beginning of the story, but pay attention to the Shepherd. He leaves the 99 and finds the one. Then He picks it up on His shoulders and carries it home "with cheerful delight."
Here, again, the emphasis should be on the woman, not the coin. Notice how diligently she searches for the coin. Does that remind you of Genesis 3:8-11? (Notice in that passage who was hiding and who was looking). When she finds the coin, she throws a party. Jesus said that's how God does when "one lost soul turns to God.”
The Father has two sons living with him. Then one demands his inheritance (which generally comes at the death of the father). He is basically saying, "You might as well be dead old man. As far as I am concerned, you are dead."
Then notice that the father distributed to BOTH sons. One elected to remain with him and the other decided to see what he could do on his own. After a brief time of enjoyment, the second son found himself destitute - so much so that he got a job slopping the pigs. Now understand, that is no job for a nice Jewish boy! Apparently the job didn't pay well as he soon wanted to eat the slop he was giving to the pigs.
The Younger Son
Then he "came to his senses" and realized that if he were working for his father, he would have plenty to eat. So he rehearsed a speech about not being a son and asking for a job. So he heads home.
Now here's an interesting phrase: "while he was still a long way off, his father saw him." Consider that for a moment. How could the father notice him "a long way off" if he weren't looking for him? The father then ran, embraced and kissed the son. Can you see the same love as the shepherd and the woman in recovering something?
The son starts into his prepared speech and the father ignores him, instead instructing the servants to bring a robe and roast a fatted calf. He wants to throw a party, just like the shepherd and the woman. This story would just be another emphasis on finding what was lost, if not for the presence of the elder brother.
The Elder Brother
He was out working in the field and missed the arrival. When he finishes up, he hears the noise of the preparation of the feast and inquires to its meaning. One of the servants informs him that the wastrel son has returned and the father wants to celebrate. This infuriates the elder son and he confronts his father when the latter asks him to join the festivities. He had made up his own story about "this son of yours" wasting money on prostitutes. Listen carefully to the exchange between the two. Hear the son complaining about how he earned the right to entertain his friends. It didn't seem fair that he was working to earn the father's favor when the father granted it to an undeserving lout like the father's other son (not "his brother").
The Love of the Father
Now, just for a minute remember that the father had divided his goods to BOTH sons. Then listen to the father patiently explain that everything the father has is the elder son's. At any time he wanted, that son could have entertained his friends. Then the father reminds him that "your brother" (not "my other son") was dead and is now alive. He was lost and now is found.
The central thread is the grace and love of the father to both the wastrel and the self-righteous.
Really take the time to meditate on the truth that the Father's love is unending. Wrap yourself in that love and enjoy the life you have while on the way to the life He has planned for you.
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