The Prodigal comes to his senses
In all of our understandings of this prodigal passage, what we have to understand is, that this is a parable, this comes along side of something that is happening or has yet to happen, we see Jesus comparing a word picture to what’s going on in and around the surroundings at that particular time and moment, and how he is applying it to a kingdom principle.
We see a young man who wanted a cut of the portion that was due him, not all of it, from the inheritance of his father’s estate to live the good life and experience all the world has to offer, hence the name prodigal.
Prodigal is another one of those lavish lifestyle teachings Jesus warned us about.
Riotous Living: Greek; ásōtos, a prodigal, one who lives loosely and is swayed easily by those around him, living for one’s own desires and for the moment, a reckless soul.
In tasting the sweet and the bitter, and all that implies and has to offer. Getting a good education of the facts of life. He lived lavishly and had all the best experiences that money can buy while it lasted. As with all fun things, it must come to an end. He found himself cleaning up after and dining on scraps with swine, the worst ever career choice for a Jewish boy could ever endured.
When we are living under the a shelter of one’s roof, our whole life experiences really doesn’t prepare us for what’s out there and to truly know the difference between the good and the bad.
In knowing were he came from and where he is at at his present point in time, what a contrast of life experiences in knowing the difference. He found himself making his way back to the security of what he once knew. The prodigal reflects, being a servant in his father house has better appeal than going hungry and dining with swine. Picking up where he left off is much better than where his life has taken him thus far.
The prodigal has one up on his older brother, knowing the true value of the grace shown by his father.
Was his older brother shown the same grace? Did the older show his younger brother the same grace, not according to his father, maybe if the older brother have had some the same life choice opportunities as his younger brother, then he would have had a more gracious demeanor. Humility is better than doing everything right.
What this younger son has, no other of his brethren of the family has known. School of hard knocks, and it does come with a price, Wisdom.
He came to himself
The key phrase is:
He came to – the momentum taking us along the way from one point to another. Ideally the distance between two points from here to there and the experiences and circumstances that have arrived to the outcome.
Taking with us all the good and bad experiences during the journey to the final destination or taking that which has brought us to this destination in our life.
Himself – reflecting on his circumstances in the third person. Or saying or thinking something to himself as a part of working something out in his mind.
This is talking to and looking into oneself as the third person. In one point of view, we are talking directly to someone about you, in the third person we are talking to someone about you, you being the only one present, that is talking to you about you.
Many times I and others have caught me talking to myself, and when I do, I’m working something through inside my head. Especially when finding that I’m being challenged with circumstances.
Psychology 101 – getting a grip on oneself
Getting away from yourself
Today, this term became all to familiar:
This is the original use of the term for self-distancing, nowadays has a two-fold application; today’s self distancing has shown many of us a two-fold purpose. The removal of distractions in our life that will cause us to self reflect, and now we have the free time to do it in.
What have we done to make good use of our free time?
Have we ever taken a step back and reflected? This is also called self-reflection. This is reflecting to yourself about yourself in the third person.
How did You get here, where are You going, what can You do to change the course, You being Yourself. This is also called self-reflection, taking a step back and taking a new look at what You see before You in the mirror. What do You see?
Or another way of looking at it, I had an Epiphany, I need to change my course, maybe go back to start a new beginning and begin on the right foot this time.
I’ve learned much about this concerning church and politics. There is very little difference. If we find we are more happy outside of it, then maybe the course needs to change.
These blog posts was a result of my internal reflection and spiritual outlet. A way for others getting to know the real person, and not the persona that many can make snap assessments about.
If the school of hard knocks had a course study, many of us would have PHDs.
Getting to a Point
A point of view is not an opinion.
Point of view definition: First, second, and third person are categories of grammar to classify pronouns and verb forms.
- First person definition: first person indicates the speaker.
- Second person definition: second person indicates the addressee.
- Third person definition: third person indicates a third party individual other than the speaker.
The third self gets the complete picture, he sees his own reflection. Talk to this familiar person in the mirror.
His preparation for the journey back
The prodigal planned and rehearsed what he was going to say to his father.
We may feel that we are not worthy to be his child because of our missing the mark, in reality we understand more about ourselves, we become more wise.
We should only come up with excuses of our actions to satisfy our third person self.
Later in the passage, we see that the father never did bring it up to the prodigal son but had to with the obedient older son.
The Prodigal did present his much rehearsed speech to his father. But would have it made much of a difference? The father who knows all, maybe he had to learn the hard way somewhere in his early years. The father didn’t bring it up, he was just happy to see his son. As for both of the sons, they did have to bring it up. Some time we can become our own worst adversary with coming up with excuses. The father didn’t say much about it, he just celebrated the safe return of his son. The younger son found that he was a son and a true servant, not out of duty or title but out of a contrite heart.
Like wise, the Lord doesn’t bring it up, we only think we should because it may make us feel better. The Father never did and neither should we, ever again. He already knows, He’s just happy to see you. If you want to bring up the details then I’m sure he will listen.
The Father didn’t hold into account or held conditions on his son’s return, He just celebrated and took him back.
The Jealous Brother
Someone will always point it out for you.
The older brother was beside himself that his younger brother was getting all the attention, the older brother wouldn’t even come into the festivities and participate, he remained an outsider. Then he inquired of a servant what this was all about, and he couldn’t believe what he was hearing, he requested that his father to come out and explain himself.
The father entreated the older son’s request. The elder brother pointed out to his father, his younger brother sin in squandering (selling off) his fathers inheritance with harlots, those whom he become popular with and those who has taken advantage of him. Dad! Shouldn’t you be throwing me this party for me and my friends?
The father did explain himself to the elder brother, he was elated that his youngest has returned to him safely, the elder brother made his faithfulness to his father clear to him, and the father understood this as well and said that, you remained with me, all that is mine is yours. However the older of the two couldn’t see how much of a good thing this was, to see his brother return and how happy it made his father.
A side observation
How is the prodigal protrayed in the fathers house today,
First – A son wanted a portion of his inheritance now, he thought that he could live lavishly on that portion.
Secondly – Are we squandering our kingdom’s inheritance, by asking for a portion of it now? Remember our prosperity is a reflection of our soul condition, and not by our possessions.
This prodigal generation has become the I want it now, give it to me right now generation: or are we willing to wait until the reward is presented us in Jesus’s Kingdom.
Setting the stage of the message
This is where we must put on Jesus’s robe of righteousness and step into his sandals that we are not worthy to untie, and observe those who were present with him, disciples and who were those others guests surrounding him? Who prepared the feast? Since there were sinners, harlots and tax collectors on the party list, we can naturally assume it may have been Matthew, being a well to do tax collector.
Then I would think about Peter being a good ol Jew boy, where he and Andrew stood with this new inner circle member.
Jesus’s whole mission here to his disciples was to help them look beyond the superficial and look into the heavenly kingdom realm. See the kingdom within the people and see their potential and not their faults, the only problem is, is that he had religious stage actors who claim they have arrived through the law and purity, who felt they were entitled and qualified to pluck the splinters from others eyes. They were complacent.
As for the religious cast, the only reason they came in and sat with the regular folk, was to get some dirt on the man. Of course I’m sure they had to draw straws to who was going to have to be seen with such folk.
Are we starting to notice some of the details surrounding him?
Step into the setting, take your places, ready on set; roll’m, and take action
Matthew or Levi, being well know as a good host, a party planner and entertainer that he is, guests were casual dress or come as you are, the guest of honor was carpenter(blacksmith in the Hebrew Gospels), a heretic in some eyes, a winebibber in others, talking about what goes into new and old wineskins, the others waited outside Matthew’s house because the party was either not in their honor or the guests didn’t live up to their ideals, they couldnt be seen associating with, prostitutes, drunkards, tax collectors, and other deviants from the established order of proper society, I’m sure we can name a few others of those people. It seems that Matthew’s extravagance was well noticed in the community. Even the religious cast showed up to observe.
I’m sure some of those being of the good ol’ Jew boys variety, that being Peter and some of the other band of followers of Jesus, what did they think of all this life outside of their sanctuary they built around them? Would they have let them in also? Maybe Matthew was the better hospitable choice of the Savior of Israel.
Guest itinerary short list:
We learned this in the “Prophets of Facade” teaching about giving and forgiving. When we take into context the gospels and how they are presented and how the writer interpreted what Jesus was saying, we could solve the mystery of what Jesus was actually saying by getting a more complete picture.
Could the above passage be Matthew’s take on the Jesus’s Prodigal Son; Luke’s take was more detailed, even though Luke wasn’t there, he was a disciple of Paul and not Jesus. Either Luke version was embellished or handed down several times, or matthews version was streamlined of what Jesus was saying. I’m just saying this is a possibility, since the other gospels don’t share the prodigal son account exactly as in Luke’s third party account. In my own opinion, I believe that Paul wanted his own account of the Gospel and sent out Luke to write the account.
There are three key guest invites;
Publicans: tax collectors, those who collect taxes or customs, also were looked at as in the day, extortionists among the people.
John the Baptist addressed Tax Collectors. He never told them to give up their day occupation but do it with integrity. Matthew may have been one of those in the group. Who knows?
Harlots: Taken from the Greek word pórnē, which means to sell, or a seller of merchandise, especially the figurative sense interpretation of selling oneself for sexual pleasure. This was both male and female. In context with publicans they were career oriented in taking money from the people for profit, especially those who take advantage of others weaknesses for their own profit.
Using the word in a figurative sense can also be known as idolatry, or temple prostitution. If this passage reflected on those who sold themselves for sexual favors would make the guest list a little more Spicy, don’t ya think. Just saying.
Sinners: those who missed the mark, or didn’t live up to the law or other’s standards. Lawless Rebels or anarchists against the accepted order some may say. Could even be more prodigals. Those of riotous living. Prodigals one and all.
SETTING THE STAGE
Keeping instep with Simon and Andrew, they just started following Jesus after He, the Son of Man was done being baptized by John, there was a few additions to the band of followers of Jesus before the encounter with Matthew or Levi. What was going through the minds of the other followers of the Messiah when He stopped and asked Matthew to follow him, a tax collector. I’m sure they were questioning His sound judgement that would allow such a deviant of Jewish society join the inner circle.
When I was thinking about why Jesus could have called Matthew, I was thinking of his occupation, a tax collector, however I started thinking about his personality, parties and hospitality and the means of offering it, those who he invited and those who kept them selves out. Jesus thinking that this would set the stage a for the Great Physician needing patients, those who are in need of a treatment plans and a prescription regimen for treating their woes.
These feasts are not the holier than thou feasts. All the trash to the religious society was invited and showed up, no closed doors here, except those who closed their doors on them, come and dine if you dare. Listen to the Word speaking the word. The Great Physician healing the sick, offering prescriptions for what’s ailing them.
Other feasts in His honor
Jesus was a popular party guest, Matthew’s event wasn’t the only event held in Jesus’s honor, there were other events that he made his way to the Lost Sheep of Israel.
Luke 7:36-50; Paraphrased.
In this passage of Luke we find that a sinful woman crashes a party made in Jesus’s honor by a Pharisee named Simon.
The woman wasn’t an expected guest, however she heard that Jesus was in town and was present at Simon’s place.
No one can really say for sure where this woman came from, but it seems to appear that Simon knew, and she wasn’t an on the invited guest list.
She’s being the only one to fulfill a hospitality tradition during this meal for the guest of honor. She brought a box of costly fragrant ointment, then aniointed him after wiping down his head and feet with her hair moisten with tears, then anoints his head and kisses feet while anointing him.
Simon the Pharisee judges in his heart and questions that Jesus is a true prophet, that he can’t discern that this woman is a sinner and shouldn’t be the one offering him this honor.
Jesus knew Simon’s heart, and had something to say to him. He painted Simon a picture, and using it as an ointment for his eyes: “Of a creditor with two debtors who owe him money, one more than the other, both were forgiven and sent on their way. Who loves me more?” Simon says, The one who is forgiven more. And then the Messiah forgives the woman’s sin.
He points out to Simon that he didn’t provide his guest with any of these services of hospitality other than the place and the meal. The washing of the feet and hands was customary and was appointed task for the servants, it appears that the kingdom of God found a true servant that could handle the job.
Simon the Leper, whom Jesus healed, has a feast in Jesus’s honor.
Here, per Matthew, is another Simon, with this one being a former leper healed by Jesus, or is it. Since Luke’s Story with another Simon who as a Pharisee has similarity’s and all the gospels share a sinner, a woman anointing Jesus with costly oil. This makes me think this may have been Lukes personal take on it. Both Mark and Matthew are very similar and follows closely the same timeline up until Jesus’s betrayal with Judas. Same with Mark’s & John’s Gospel. Two gospels shows that Mary Magdalene was the one applying the oil to Jesus. Which would make sense with Luke take, since she used to be a adulteress.
Again, remember that Luke was a Physician and a disciple of Paul, he was not one of the twelve and wasn’t present when this was all happening. Being Paul’s disciple he was to the other nations or gentiles, not primarily to the Jews.
Zacchaeus the chief Publican
Here Jesus finds another Publican who happens to be the Chief of his trade and wealthy. Some of the good old folk crowed around him were murmuring, here Jesus goes again staying with those publicans and sinners. Jesus knowing beforehand and discerning a sincere heart in the crowd.
Apparently Jesus had to stay where he was welcomed and needed. And He knew who and where they were. I’m sure there was a deeper kingdom principle.
Immediately the little guy knowing who Jesus is, made haste to greet the Messiah and has already pre-destined in his heart to make good on all his wrong practices, he righted those who he wronged. Remember what John the Baptist said to the Publicans that were following him?
Jesus in-turn proclaimed salvation to his house as inasmuch as Jesus is the Son of Abraham, so is the same with Zacchaeus. Who’s House? Could it be the House of Israel? The book of Romans talks about grafting in the lost house of Israel.
The two applications of the message
In many of Jesus’s messages we can find multiple applications, such as giving and forgiving and how they are tied together with a purpose. This is the same with this passage.
Jesus came for the lost, who was lost? The Lost Sheep of Israel. Keep this in mind for a future blog post.
If I was to pin this Prodigal on anyone, this would be Matthew. By trade he lived it, as well as his constituent, Zacchaeus the chief tax collector, was of the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
If I was to pin the older son any anyone, I would say those who came to judge the guest list, including judging the guest of honor. Jesus came for the Lost sheep of Israel this time around, and seeing that he was the great physician. He didn’t come to lay down the law, but to fulfill it to completion by offering forgiveness of all our sin.
I will give a clue for the next study: God didn’t divorced the Nation of Judah the Southern Kingdom when He divorced Israel the Northern Kingdom, He never did. Jesus came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel this time around. The Jews that dwell in Israel today and abroad are actually the House of Judah. Salvation has never been taken away from those of Jewish heritage and faith. They were never divorced.
When I started to do this study on the Prodigal Son, I started to notice that this fit a pattern with what the Lord was showing me about the two sons. The Jews & and the Gentiles(other nations), or the House of Judah and the House of Israel or Joseph. The first advent was for the lost sheep of Israel, the second advent is going to be for the House of Judah.
In summery of the Prodigal Son:
Matthew, being a Jew boy, an outcast from the kosher life of his other brethren. Luke’s story surrounds a father and two brothers, and Matthew’s take on this was the two brothers. Peter was a fisher of men to the Son of Man, Matthew was a good host to men and the Son of Man. The Fathers house is Jesus’s Fathers house, or kingdom of God? The Prodigal was Matthew or the lost son. The the older brother; the religious cast or the House of Judah, and possibly one or more of His disciples including Judas, and especially Peter and Andrew. The father? Who else could He be?
The next Study,
The Two Brothers, Sibling Rivalry, and a Family Reunion in God’s House.