Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week, as part of our series on the identity of Jesus, we’re going to study how Jesus is forgiving.
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
(Luke 15:11-32 ESV)
This was a long story, so we’ll save most of the analysis for tomorrow. You may have heard it before…and thought you had it figured out.
Jesus tells a story of a man with two sons. The younger son asks for his part of his inheritance early, then runs away to a foreign country with dad’s money, loses it all, and ends up working for foreigners and then ends up destitute, cleaning their pig troughs. He finally comes to his senses, heads home with a plan to ask his father to employ him like a servant, and his father runs out to meet him, give him a robe and ring, throws a giant party with the fatted calf. The older brother stays home, helps out on the farm, and ends up jealous of his brother’s party. His father tries to smooth things over, and says how happy he is to have found his lost son.
Simple enough, right?
But there is more…we’re going to retell it tomorrow, and go beyond the simple explanations…to see that Jesus’ story means much more than this simple summary. Try to hear it through the ears of the first audience, Jesus’ Jewish friends and community.
Question: In the story of the two sons, which of the sons did you relate to most? Why? What part of the story most engaged you? Why did Jesus tell this story?