Beloved, the whole of Luke chapter 15 which was partly read as one of our readings today focuses on the lost. In that chapter of the bible, Jesus told us three parables and they all focus on “the lost” and the will of God concerning them.
For the purpose of our food for thought this week, we shall focus on the parable of the prodigal son taking a clue from James 5:19-20 “my brethren, if any among you err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know that he who converts a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins”
In Luke 15:11-31 we are introduced to a young man who desired to be independent from his father and asked for his inheritance while the father was still alive. His attitude represents the modern society and the backslidden Christian who believe they don’t need God.
This foolish young man was certain he will be better off on his own. Hence after collecting his inheritance, he went to a distant country away from his home. There he squandered his wealth in flamboyant living. His enjoyment lasted only for a season because soon he lost everything. There was a severe famine in that land that made the situation worse. Shortly after he found himself with the demeaning job of feeding the swine (unclean animals for the Jews). No one gave him anything even though he starved because he had fallen so low and become very insignificant.
He returned to his father because he realized the error of his ways after working for the foreigner for some time. This stage of his life reminds us of the backslidden people who decide to turn from their wicked ways and return to God. Why do Christians backslide? Is a question we must provide answer to before considering the will of God for the lost.
people backslide because they think it’s better for them to be independent of God. Luke 15:11-12, Isaiah 53:6). People backslide for worldly pleasures leaving them to be spiritually empty. Luke 15:13-14, Jeremiah 2:13. Some also backslide to satisfy themselves for one thing or the other. Luke 15:15-16, Revelation 3:17. The consequences of getting lost includes but not limited to being separated from the love of God and fellowship with him.
The father’s reactions to the returning of the prodigal son reveal God’s will for the lost. Our God has compassion for the lost. (Matthew 9:36); God forgives the sinners that comes to him of their sins and clothe them with his righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10); God treats the lost who return to him as his sons rather than his servants. (1 John 3:1); God removes the guilt of sin from sinners who come to him and assure them of everlasting freedom. (John 8:32); God demonstrates his love towards sinners that come to him and he will not spare anything to save them, not even his son. (John 3:16); when a lost man or woman repents there’s great joy among the angels of heaven. (Luke 15:10).
The parable of the prodigal son shows that God is more than happy to receive the lost sinners with forgiveness, love, compassion, grace and the full rights of children, if they return to him sincerely. It is not also impossible to have identified someone around you who need to return to the Saviour, it is your responsibility to make every effort to help him or her return. James 5:19-20.
this day, if you admit your need to return to the savior, I encourage you to return and rededicate your life to Jesus and I assure you of God’s readiness to have mercy and receive you as his child.
Your Brother, Friend, Pastor & Archdeacon