Luke 14-15, Proverbs 24:1-22
The three parables that make up Luke 15 are some of our favorites, as they should be. The picture of a Father running to embrace the Son who demanded his inheritance early, thus implicitly suggesting it wouldn’t matter to this prodigal if his father were dead, affects our hearts deeply. For this is love that we cannot imagine having for someone. It moves us because Jesus is claiming that this love, like that of a woman for a lost coin, or a shepherd over a lost sheep being found is a dim reflection of the very love God has for us. As we celebrate the truth of these stories, remember they appear in the midst of Jesus’ ongoing confrontations with Pharisees over their lack of concern for the lost sheep of Israel and amongst the foreign nations. These Pharisees haven’t yet grasped why Jesus is so insistent on mingling with the outcast and the lawless. Jesus wants these religious leaders to understand God’s heart to see how they have been like the older brother in this story, who hopes to please his Father to secure his own blessings, without having a clue about his father’s pleasure. You see, the so-called Prodigal doubted the father would welcome him as a son, but the elder brother never delighted in the love of the father. S0 Jesus is inviting these Pharisees to find delight in the Father’s rescue, and prepare to enjoy the banquet the Father will throw for the righteous at the resurrection (Luke 14:14).