In Luke 15, Jesus teaches a crowd that consisted of ‘tax collectors and sinners’ as well as Pharisees and scribes, by using three parables. Perhaps one of the most well-known of all parables is the parable of the lost sons or “The Prodigal Son.” A certain man (our Heavenly Father) had two sons, and the teaching was directed to both the sinners (youngest son) and those who thought they were better than the sinners (oldest son). Please notice the contrast between the father of the boys and the citizens of the far country.
After wasting all that he had been given, the youngest was feeding swine and was jealous of their food. Jesus then said, “And no one gave him anything,” Luke 15:16. The world did nothing to help the boy.
By way of contrast, notice everything the text says the father gave:
- A division of his livelihood – Luke 15:12
- His thoughts and attention (seeing him a great way off) – Luke 15:20
- His compassion – Luke 15:20
- His love and affection (shown in a hug and a kiss) – Luke 15:20
- His best (robe, ring, sandals, fatted calf) – Luke 15:22-23
- His forgiveness – Luke 15:24
Isn’t this the perfect picture of what we find in Jesus, the One that God gave to save the world (John 3:16)? In Jesus, we see God thinking about us, the sinners for whom Christ died (Romans 5:6-8). In Jesus, we have the compassion of God, making a way for His love to be shown to the world (1 John 4:9). In Jesus, we have the best – the perfect sacrifice, the perfect example, and Giver of the perfect law offering liberty to the sinner (Hebrews 7:22-28; 1 Peter 2:21-25). In Jesus we have forgiveness from our sins (Matthew 1:21; 26:28).
The world gives nothing that leads to safety and security. The world has nothing to offer for our eternal well-being. Therefore, let us serve a God who gives by setting our affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).