The Holy God Requires Holy People
These two chapters continue to outline the sort of life God looked for in those whom he had taken to be his own both as a community and as individuals within that community. They were to be holy as He is holy.
As God’s New Covenant People we have the privilege and responsibility of seeking to represent His character in all our dealings. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22ff) is the life that honours God in His sanctity and sovereignty.
The Prodigal Father and Son
This parable and that of the Good Samaritan are probably the best known and most loved of all Jesus’ parables.
If “prodigal” can be used to express lavish generosity as well as the actions of a wastrel the above title may not be far off the mark.
An untold number of sermons and reflections have been based on this passage. However profound or prolix they may have been, at least three things deserve careful and reverent thought.
First is the mean, self-interested, and thoughtless departure of the younger son. It is Jesus’ depiction of many of his own day and also of our current day attitudes and actions in respect to God.
Then, in astonishing contrast, there is the monumental generosity and concern of the injured father. This is Jesus’ portrayal of his God and Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
Last of all, there is the obstinate and resentful older son. Perhaps, at the time, a representation of those Israelites and particularly those leaders who would not accept his invitation to God’s great Messianic Banquet. Today, it speaks of the self-imposed isolation of those who will not “come to the banquet”.
Like the two parables in yesterday’s reading, we can see here both the heart of God and the wonderful welcome that awaits those who will return to the waiting Father. It also stands as an encouragement for each of us to encourage every “younger” and “older brother” to re-consider their position.