Friday, January 20, 2006

The Prodigal Son

Pastor John Macarthur spoke on Luke 15 the parable of the prodigal son. He explained the story as the Pharisees would have seen it. He said that honor and shame were a big part of the culture back then, they were like gods to the hypocrites. So the Pharisees would have seen a lot of shame in this story displayed by all the parties involved.

Verse 11 And He said, "There was a man who had two sons.

Shameful Request
Verse 12a: And the younger of them said to his father, "Father give me the share of property that is coming to me."
In Jewish tradition the second born son would get one third of the father's estate after his father had died. For the son to request… no rather demand (“Father give me”) his inheritance before it was time would have been very disrespectful, selfish, and dishonoring, thus shameful.

Shameful Response
Verse 12b: And he divided his property between them.
Rather then scold and punish his son’s selfish request, the father fulfills it.

Shameful Rebellion
Verse 13: Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
The son acted quickly, he was in a hurry to be away from his father's house. He cashed in his portion of the estate and ran as far and as fast as he could into a sinful lifestyle. There he wastes his money, his honor, and his future.

Shameful Occupation
Verses 14-15: And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
Because of his recklessness the son now becomes a beggar, and someone with the lowest of jobs a swine feeder.

Shameful Survival
Verse 16: And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
In order to survive he was humiliated by eating out of the same trough as the pigs.

All of this disobedience and shameful activity by the son is because he doesn't have a good and honoring relationship with his father.

Shameful Repentance
Verses 17-19: But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my fathers hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, father and I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."
He "came to himself" he realizes the wrong he’s done that he has dishonored and broken off the father-son relationship with his father, so he can’t just go back and ask or demand more money. He remembers that even those who are servants in his father’s house have more than enough to eat. This tells us that his father was a generous man, he wouldn’t just give those working for him enough to survive, he would give them "more than enough." The son figures that he can trust in this generosity to at least be able to serve his father in exchange for food. The Pharisees would have seen this as shameful because they would have seen the son as officially cut off from any ties with the father, he should stay in that far country and work out his own survival.

Shameful Reconciliation
Verses 20-21: And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
Not only did the father not punish the son for the wrongs he had done him, but while he was a long way off (implying that the father was probably watching anxiously for his son wondering if he would return) he Ran to greet him, in the Jewish culture of the day up standing and respectable men did not Run, it simply wasn't done. They wore long robes and it would've been considered very shameful to show one's legs by hiking this robe up so as to be able to run. The Pharisees would have seen this as very shameful, a gentlemen running down the center of town to embrace his disobedient son.

Shameful Rejoicing
Verses 22- 24 But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." And they began to celebrate.
The son gets lavished upon by his father who tells his servants to bring his robe and ring and put them on the son. The robe would have been a sign of great honor this garment was reserved for the father to wear to important events. The ring was most likely the signet ring the family seal that was used to authorize letters and documents of importance, this would've been essentially giving the son back full authority over the father's household and estate. And if that wasn't enough he also requested that they kill the fattened calf for a celebratory feast. This calf would've been one that was raised and nurtured and saved for a special party, most likely the first born son's wedding feast. The son does not get what he deserves, instead of a life of service to his father in an attempt to reconcile his wrongdoings, he immediately receives grace and mercy from his father.

Shameful Reaction
Verses 25-30 Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound." But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, "Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!"
Now we see the Pharisees those to whom Jesus is talking, enter the story. The older son responds very disrespectful towards his father, if he truly had his father's best interests at heart he would have been involved in the story from the beginning, encouraging and challenging his younger brother to be obedient and stick around. Instead he comes to his father (actually he stood outside impatiently while his father came out to him) and doesn't ask a polite question about what is going on, but demand's by saying "Look" "See Here" I have been faithful and obedient. Then he goes on by whining about the fact that he has never received even a goat that he might celebrate with his friends (notice he doesn't care about his family, their out of the picture he would rather be with his friends). The rightful place of this oldest son should have been by his father's side helping his father make plans and arrangements for the feast, as well as celebrating and rejoicing along side him. But he gave that up being more concerned with what he does and doesn't have and what is and isn't fair.

Honorable Response
Verses 31-32 And he said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."
This was indeed an honorable response as was everything that the father did, and it would have been a great ending to the story if the Pharisees would have finally "got it" but they didn't. The party, though it appears to be for the son, is really a party to display the fathers glory because it shows his grace on somebody undeserving.

The Players
Us, the elect, previously lost Gentile sinners: Played by the younger son

God: Played by the father

The Jews, but specifically at this point the Pharisees: Played by the older son

This is taken mostly from notes that I took while listening to John Macarthur at Resolved.
But I added some of my thoughts and ideas as well.


At 1/21/2006 1:42 PM, Blogger Daniel Mann said...

MacArhtur has been expostiroy preaching for over 30 years. In his book "Rediscovering Expository Preaching" MacArthur tells about preparing for his Sunday message over the years. He would spend eight hours a Day 40 hours a week studying for his Sunday and Wednesday teachings. Could you imagine? Spending that much time on one chapter.

At 1/21/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger Jason said...

That cool I didn't know that. Thats a lot of time but you can tell by how well he details out a passage.

At 1/21/2006 4:49 PM, Blogger Daniel Mann said...

correction- has been "expository" preaching"...

Good stuff, MacAuthor is really good at getting at the historical context of a given passage, so as to apply sound application.

This parable is primarily about God and His grace and mercy, rather than the sons. We are only beneficiaries of God's freely choosen acts of kindness toward us, rebellious sons. The question is which son are we? At one time or another we have been, and/or will fall prey to being one of these sons. And our Father has and does, and will show us profound mery, and grace. Amen

At 1/21/2006 5:05 PM, Blogger Daniel Mann said...

By the way, the first comment belongs to Carson, not me. I wrote the second comment, after yours, Jason. And I mispelled MacArthur.

At 1/21/2006 5:15 PM, Blogger stephen said...

Oh yeah? Well I got the fifth comment, suckers! Snap!

At 1/21/2006 5:45 PM, Blogger Ana Banana said...

Truely, what a amazing God that we serve, to be at one time or either one of those sons characteristically. And we have a God who shows us mercy and grace. The perfect picture of love.
Thanks Jason for sharing those notes!
Thank you again for the chai today, you are great!!

At 1/21/2006 5:47 PM, Blogger Jason said...

If we can't trust that you are who you say you are now, how can we ever?

There for: I hypothesize that you must be rufus.

At 1/21/2006 6:18 PM, Blogger Ana Banana said...

Are you talking to me??? You are funny! I propose that it is you, in the library, with the candlestick!

At 1/21/2006 6:18 PM, Blogger Carson Allen said...


I let Dan use my laptop and he didn't sign out. Rufus is Brian P, or just mayby it's Juliann and Anna, that's why they have been spending so much time together.

At 1/21/2006 6:19 PM, Blogger Ana Banana said...

I can't believe you just mispelled my name, you are in trouble now!

At 1/21/2006 9:36 PM, Blogger Julianne said...


At 1/21/2006 9:43 PM, Blogger Jason said...

What about Dan what does he do when he's bloging at 2 in the morning?

At 1/21/2006 10:04 PM, Blogger Carson Allen said...

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty Uesdnatnrd waht I was rdnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdring to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinertisy, it deosn't mttaer in what oredr the ltters in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervy lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh?

notice how the writer states " The phenomenal power of the human mind"

At 1/21/2006 10:25 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Tahts an itneriseng tohuhgt atfer you get oevr the frsit snetenic you can raed it wiht out mcuh torbule.

Tohguh I dnot konw how tihs bneifts the hmaun rsac.

Juli, dindt we tlak aobut tihs on the tirp, how seplilng is bcemonig mroe sbuejcitv?

At 1/21/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Carson Allen said...

thts guod Jasun

The point isn't benefiting the human race, it is the phenomenal power of the human mind, and how some people have a hard time expressing what's in their mind in a literary context. Atleast I do.

If someone were to tell me spelling should be taken subjectively. I would disagree. I know I just need to repent and spell better.

see you in the morning

At 1/22/2006 2:16 AM, Blogger Daniel Mann said...

Is that a trick question, Jason?
Wow! It is 2 in the morning again.

How come we have not heard from our friend 'Rufus' in a while, at least not on our blogs?

Julianne and Ana- naaa, I don't think they could pull it off. At least not getting caught.

Brian P, said it had to be someone intelligent, that pretty narrows it down to no one I know.

Not that Julianne and Ana are not intelligent, of course.

At 1/22/2006 5:46 AM, Blogger Jason said...

I don't think you directly answered the question.... or aquzation Dan.

Carson as for spelling being subjective I don't think it should either. Though it would make life easier for some of us.

At 1/22/2006 6:08 PM, Blogger Ana Banana said...

Though spelling is nice, what is an aquzation? Maybe he didn't really understand that he was being accused!
Dan, what are you doing at these odd hours, I think they may be contributing to your migraines!

At 1/22/2006 7:11 PM, Blogger Julianne said...

Jason, did you go out to Ashland to hear David Witt? Good sermon he gave today, eh?

At 1/22/2006 9:21 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Juli, no I didn't go out there either, I needed to prepare for work this week.
Yes I thought the sermon he gave was very good. He did a good job of personalizing the idea of being a martyr for Christ.

At 1/23/2006 2:50 AM, Blogger Daniel Mann said...

Some of my friends- new found calvinists replied that they were put to sleep. That is they left Arminian preaching, and wanted to hear good calvinistic preaching. God-centeredness. I said we can learn from our Arminian friends. We ought to have a passion and love for our persecuted brothern. And remember their inflictions. They agreed, and they did appreciate his zeal. My prayer during the service was for God to grant David Witt, "knowlege" (truth)with his zeal, and that God would grant me "Zeal" with knowledge. Both are sovereign works of God's grace. OH, how we all need God to grant us, both zeal and knowledge. Amen

At 1/23/2006 6:24 AM, Blogger Matador190 said...

Yo, that's pretty neat.

Did you see Rufus died?


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