Wednesday 02 September 2015

Bible Book:

“He was lost and is found.” (v. 24)

Luke 15:11-32 Wednesday 2 September 2015

Psalm: Psalm 80


Today's passage is still about something lost, butthis time a son who makes his own decision to return. He knows hehas done wrong and so he wants to make a bargain with his Fatherand it is the terms of that bargain, compared with what finallyhappens that I want us to concentrate on today.

The son works his strategy out beforehand. We canassume that he expecting that he will not receive a good welcome.Remember this is a group-oriented society, he has not simplydamaged himself by his actions. If news of what he has done getsback home he has dragged the self-respect of his family through themud, or to the pigs. So he creates the bargain he will offer hisFather: 'Treat me as one of your mistheos'. That word 'mistheos'which is often translated 'day labourer' is an interesting one. Itcomes from the word for reward and literally means 'one who laboursfor a reward'. But this is a time well before Trade Unions andlabour laws. The point about being a day labourer is that you wouldliterally be hired for the day, if there was work for you to do,you were hired for one day. If there was no work you were on yourown. What is more, wages were low, so if you were hired for the dayyou would eat, but if there was no work it was quite possible thatyou would not. What the son is proposing is a relationship whereby,not only will he work for his father, his father will have noresponsibility to him beyond paying for a day's work.

But the son never even gets to make his offer.Instead, his father spots him coming when he is still far off, isfilled with compassion for the son who has dragged the family namethrough the mud, and interrupts the carefully planned confessionand bargain to plan a party. What a picture of God's love andgenerosity!

To Ponder

  • 'Let me work for you and I will make no demands at all'.'Welcome back to the family, let's have a party.' Sit for a momentwith these very different responses to the prodigal's return.Without trying to give the doctrinally correct answer, if you werethe prodigal child, how would you expect God to respond?
  • Many of us carry central images of God which are drawn frommany sources and fundamentally affect how we relate to God andothers. What if anything, did the reflection above reveal aboutyours?
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