Watching and Waiting

Luke 15.1-3, 11-end

15Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

3 So he told them this parable:

11 Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. 13A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger!18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” 20So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” 22But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.

25 ‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” 28Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” 31Then the fathersaid to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” ’


The son that leaves home in this story does not get what he deserves.   We can all agree that he gets much more than he ever deserves.  He thought that he knew it all.  He took what he thought he was entitled to get from his father.  He made mistake after mistake.  He did learn a lesson, but some would argue that he deserved to receive much less of a warm welcome home than a party.  The father celebrated in an outrageous fashion by the standards of the loyal son that played by the rules.  The son felt entitled to a little punishment of the other.  All these reactions are part of being human.

We all make the same mistakes in life.  We believe we know all the answers.  We feel entitled to certain things.  We make bad choices.  We feel jealous of what others receive.  All these things make us human.  The reaction of the father is much different than the feelings and actions of his sons.  The father grants mercy and grace instead of punishment and lectures.  The love of the father over shadows the human reactions of his children.

This, like all of Jesus parables, is more than a story of a dysfunctional family.  It is a picture of the human condition and the love, mercy and grace of God.  God desires us to be in a relationship with him and nothing that we do keeps us from that love, as long as we are willing to come back home to God.  The son that left deserved punishment but received mercy, just because he was willing to come home.  When we fall away from God and sin, we to deserve punishment, but God offers us mercy.  We have to be willing to see what we have done wrong and our need to come home.  God is waiting and watching for us.  God wants to be in a healthy relationship with him.  God is waiting full of love, mercy and grace.


God bless,

Pastor Mandy