But just as surely as God was sovereign over the sins of the two brothers (Luke 15:11-32), we can trust that his protection surrounds our children. He will set limits to their disobedience and boundaries to the harm that they may do and will walk with them to protect them along the way. They cannot sin outside of his will, and he will surely walk them, and us, through the valleys of death that he calls us to walk through, guiding and comforting us all along the way. He has promised to use all things for their good, for our good, and for his glory, and we can cling to that promise even when their lives out of control.
– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 206
Had the younger son (Luke 15:11-32) been forced to stay at home through lack of resources his outward behavior might have been restrained, but his heart would not have been changed. He would have become angrier and bitter, convinced that his father stood between him and enjoying life. By setting him free to pursue his sinful desires, the father paradoxically started him on the path that would set him free from sin’s power as he saw its emptiness and bitter fruit. In this way, the younger son would learn that he who is forgiven much will surely love much. The magnitude of his sin ultimately served to soften his hard heart and heighten the glorious character of his patient and loving father.
– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 205
Rebellion and conformity are often flip sides of the same coin. To be sure, sin takes all different forms – some of them overt, some more covert, some more damaging than others (in the short term) – but none of them benign. Once we understand that sin has more to do with what’s on the inside of us than what we do on the outside, we begin to see our own desperate need for grace, whether it takes form of trying to find freedom and fullness of life by breaking the rules (younger brother) or keeping them (elder brother). The problem is that we are so accustomed to thinking about sin exclusively in terms of external behavior and outward rebellion.
– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 405
It [the parable of the prodigal son – Luke 15] paints us as entitled brats who disrespect our fathers and pursue our selfish ends at a cost to both ourselves and those who love us. But remember, the Gospel only sounds good to a heart that knows it is bad. For people who think they’re good, grace is frustrating. For people who know they’re not, grace is freeing.
– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 377
This father (Luke 15:11-17) knows how reckless and self-destructive his son is being, and he knows his son is going to squander whatever he gives him. So what does he do? He turns everything we think we know about raising responsible children on its head and gives the boy what he asks. We read that and think, What an unwise father. If this father had been steeped in the proverbial wisdom of the Bible, he would have never made such a foolish mistake. But the father knows something we don’t. He knows that in order to win the heart of his son, he has to risk losing him altogether by giving him something even more dangerous and reckless than what he asked for. He has to give him grace.
– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 319
Watching the early Church pray for everything for joy:
- The Early Christians called on God to exalt His name in the world. (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 9:2)
- The Early Christians called on God to extend His kingdom in the world (Matthew 6:10; Revelations 21:4)
- The Early Christians called on God for the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13; Ephesians 3:19; Acts 4:31)
- The Early Christians called on God to save unbelievers. (Romans 10:1; Matthew 13:44; Luke 15:7)
- The Early Christians called on God for healing (James 5:13-15; Acts 8:7)
- The Early Christians called on God for strategic wisdom. (James 1:5; Colossians 1:9, 3:16)
- The Early Christians called on God for unity and harmony in the ranks (John 17:20-21; Philippians 2:2)
- The Early Christians called on God to help them know Him better. (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 1:17)
- The Early Christians called on God to help them comprehend the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:14, 18)
- The Early Christians called on God for a deeper sense of assured hope. (Ephesians 1:16, 18, Romans 15:13, 5:2, 12:12)
- The Early Christians called on God for strength and endurance (Colossians 1:11, Ephesians 3:16; Nehemiah 8:10)
- The Early Christians called on God for their faith to be preserved. (Luke 22:32, 21:36; II Corinthians 1:24; Philippians 1:25)
- The Early Christians called on God that they might not fall into temptation. (Matthew 6:13, 26:41)
- The Early Christians called on God to complete their resolves and enable them to do good work. (II Thessalonians 1:11, Colossians 1:10, Acts 20:35)
- The Early Christians called on God for forgiveness for their sins. (Matthew 6:12)
- The Early Christians called on God for protection from the evil one.
– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright 2004; p.143-146
I can totally relate to the prodigal son after he squandered his wealth (Luke 15: 11-32). I resonate with the feelings he had when he was eating with the pigs, thinking he could back to the father as a slave. SOmetimes I waited a few days or even weeks before talking to Him because I wanted to have a period of proving myself. In doing this, I acted like a slave and obeyed as well as I could. I figured I could still serve Him even though I felt uncomfortable having a real conversation with Him.
Have you ever felt this way? Do you ever want to distance yourself from Him because you feel so much same over your sin?
This was a regular pattern for me. I wanted to prove that I was sorry for what I did by being faithful for a period of time. I wanted to develop a good track record before pursuing my relationship with Him again. I wanted God to see that I could be a good servant. Then I felt good enough to talk to God again. But God didn’t want a good slave who tried really hard. He wanted me to see that He was a good Father. He wants intimacy.
– Chan, Francis; Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit; David C. Cook Publishers; Colorado Springs, CO; copyright 2009; p. 113
The forgiveness of God is gratuitous liberation from guilt. Paradoxically, the conviction of personal sinfulness becomes the occassion of encounter with the merciful love of the redeeming God. “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…” (Luke 15:7). In his brokenness, the repentant prodigal knew an intimacy with his father that his sinless self-righteous brother would ever know.
– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 180-181
This younger brother, then, is asking his father to tear his life apart. And the father does so, for the love of his son. Most of Jesus’ listeners would have never seen a Middle Eastern patriarch respond like this. The father patiently endures a tremendous loss of honor as well as the pain of rejected love. Ordinarily when our love is rejected we get angry, retaliate, and do what we can to diminish our affection for the rejecting person, so we won’t hurt so much. But this father maintains his affection for his son and bears the agony.
– Tim Keller, Prodigal God, page 20, copyright 2008