“The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. . .” Luke 15:11-24
When I first studied this passage back in Bible College, it was easy for me to identify the younger son as those people who have taken their God-given gifts and talents and squandered them for their own selfish reasons. I saw them as the heathens among us who didn’t know that God is waiting to welcome them home.
After some reflection (and a few years of maturity), I began to see myself as the prodigal son – wasteful with my own God-given gifts, lavish in my pride, and extravagant in the ways I used my words, even to the point of hurting others. Yes, in many ways I was like the prodigal son.
Seeing myself (and others) as a type of prodigal son is easy. We’re all selfish sinners bent on having our own way at the expense of those who love us. What bothers me (and may bother you) is to consider this: Jesus is the true Prodigal Son.
The word prodigal means to be wastefully or recklessly extravagant or lavish. Jesus recklessly and lavishly invested everything He had so that we could know His eternal love. As I contemplate this, I’m also challenged by how Jesus gave all of Himself while knowing there would not be a 100% return on His investment. Yes, in the omnipotence of God, He knew how many of us would accept His Divine sacrifice. But as a human, Jesus was spending, if not wasting, His entire self on us. True, He loves His creation; but we sure seem to have a funny way of acknowledging His gift.
Jesus the Prodigal. Give this concept some time to sink in. One day Jesus took His inheritance and His title, left the home of His Father and traveled to a distant, foreign country. He spent all He had to become a human and emptied Himself of all the previous privileges He held in His Father’s house. In the strangest investment scheme in history, Jesus prodigiously squandered His inheritance by hanging around with sinners and harlots, drunkards and lepers, tax collectors and sundry riff-raff. After spending all He had, Jesus sensed God’s abandonment (Matthew 27:46), only to return to the Father hungry and thirsty (John 19:28), fresh out of prison (1 Peter 3:19), dressed in borrowed clothes fit only for a dead man. Continue Reading