The Lost Son's Disobedience

Posted on 16-Oct-2014

Feature by Corporal Nathan Chan of 10th Kuala Lumpur Company
Published October 16th, 2014
During His life on earth, Jesus often taught through stories, called parables. Many of these have become very popular illustrations, shared and heard dozens of times. Yet as we get bored hearing these stories, we often forget a deeper meaning to them.

The lost son (more commonly known as the prodigal son) is one such parable, often told to show God’s willingness to redeem us.The third in a series of parables, it was told to two groups of people - the tax collectors/sinners and the Pharisees/teachers of the law, and is recorded in Luke 15:11-31.

So the story started with two sons, one which asked for his inheritance early - before his father died. This alone is an insult in the Jewish culture, as it is the equivalent of wishing the father was dead. Yet instead of scolding that son, the father granted his request.

So the son set of and wasted the wealth away on lavish living, eventually resorting to feeding pigs to earn a living. Finally he realized that he would be better off as his father's servant. When he returned, however, no only did his father accept him, he accepted him as a son.

The story commonly told ends there at verse 24 in the bible. Yet what happens after is equally interesting. When the younger son returned, the father threw a banquet to celebrate.

Soon after the banquet started, the older son, while working in the fields, find out about the banquet. Instead of rejoicing, however, he grumbled at the apparent injustice carried out, as he had worked faithfully for years, but had absolutely no banquet.

The father then replied: “But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:32 NIV)

Both of the brothers were disobedient. The younger brother squandered his father's wealth. He practically tactically wished his father to be dead. Yet he came to realize it, and went on to repent and be shown forgiveness.

On the other hand, the older son was righteous outwardly. He worked hard and without any disobedience. Inside, however, he too was disobedient. When he complains to his father about the goat, he essentially asks: “Why do you spend my inheritance on this unworthy son?”

But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ (Luke 15:29-30 NIV)

There were two sons, as well as two groups listening. The older son, in essence, represented the Pharisees. They were outwardly high and righteous, yet inwardly sinful. The younger son, representing the common people, was also sinful, but didn't realize it. The question is: which is more dangerous - the visible or unseen?

We may serve our companies faithfully every single week, even when we disagree with the officers. Yet we can sin without showing any action, or uttering a single word. Sin is still sin when unseen.

Page Created: 16th October 2014
Last Updated: 16th October 2014