Saturday 06 March 2010

Bible Book:

"Let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!" (v.23-24)

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Saturday 6 March 2010


Today, in the west, we live in a culture where childrenroutinely leave home and often move far away from their parents.Some parents feel able to pass on some of their money to theirchildren while they are still alive, to help with the deposit for ahouse perhaps, or to help them through education.

In Jesus' day, that would have been unheard of. For a son to askfor his inheritance while his father was still alive was, ineffect, to wish him dead. The father could have thrown the son out,disowned him, but instead the land was divided and the younger songiven his share (probably one third as the elder son was entitledto a double portion). He must then have sold his portion, bringingdisgrace to the family and leaving them with less land on which tomake a living.

Many Jews at the time left their homes to try to make money in thecity, but if that was the son's intention we see no sign of it ashe spends all his money. The farmer he ends up working for musthave been a Gentile (a non-Jew) as Jews were forbidden from keepingpigs. Feeding them was about as low as it was possible tofall.

When he comes to his senses and returns home, he knows that he hasno right to the status of a son any more. However, the gifts hisfather gives him are to be the best robe, a ring which is a symbolof authority, and shoes which were worn only by freemen, not byslaves. The father has been watching out for his son's return, andthrows dignity aside as he runs to greet him, something just notdone by senior men at that time.

The older son is not impressed, possibly seeing that whatever isspent on his brother is being funded out of his inheritance. Can heemulate his father's forgiveness? We are left in the dark, notknowing what happens next.

To Ponder

The father shows his love for his son as hethrows dignity to the wind and runs to embrace him, dresses him inthe finest clothes and throws a party. Have you ever experiencedlove expressed in such an extravagant way?

Which of the characters in the story can you bestrelate to? What would you do next?

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