The Prodigal Son and I; my take on Luke 15

Posted: August 20, 2011 in Christian
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I have decided to tackle the parable of the Prodigal Son, a story that I have been familiar with since childhood, but one that I never really comprehended until recently the powerful message that was waiting for me within it.

We find the story of the Prodigal Son within the gospel of Luke. The fifteenth chapter of Luke opens with publicans and sinners gathering to hear and eat with Christ in Galilee and of course, the Jewish religious police that followed Him around, the scribes and Pharisees were there not to learn from Him, but to find fault with Christ for we read that they were grumbling about Him eating with all these sinners.

I find it interesting that the gospels demonstrate that whenever Christ encounters sinners He is always kind and compassionate, but whenever we find Him up against the official religionists of the day, the Pharisees, the encounters often turn harsh and sometimes violent. It gives us an interesting insight to what Our Lord thought of the religious establishment and organized religion and makes me wonder what He thinks of it today…anyway…

We find Jesus reserves the entire chapter of Luke 15 to, once again, take advantage of the stiff necked and holier-than-thou attitude of the Pharisees to show them and to demonstrate to the crowd that had gathered to hear Him speak, just how much the Pharisees had bastardized and debased the purpose of the scriptures. Jesus did this by first giving common sense examples of acts of finding lost things that anyone listening would agree with and then using those thought as a basis of The Lord’s attitude toward all of us by telling a story of a son that was lost and had returned, turning the Pharisees snobbish attitude toward the sinners back on them. The story of the Prodigal Son is much more than that, it is also a practical demonstration that the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, our God and Lord, is a God of second chances and a very forgiving and benevolent Lord.

OK, how does the story of the Prodigal Son apply to me? As an answer to this question, I feel compelled to give a quick testimony.

I was raised in a Christian household with loving parents but at the age of twelve I suffered non-familial sexual abuse from an authority figure and hid it from everyone for I was sure I would somehow be blamed. I felt even at an early age that the religion of my youth was very flawed in their doctrines and traditions much as the Church of Ephesus in Revelation chapter two (law over love and compassion) and therefore I didn’t feel I could turn to the church and I didn’t trust my parents either…I trusted no one. Not sharing the problem with those that cared was extremely stupid on my part, for as a result, I ended up plunging headlong into roller coaster existence of drugs and alcohol, depression and guilt. For the next three decades I sought answers in all the wrong places, blaming God for a period while dabbling in occult rituals, exploring Buddhism, multiculturalism and new age and finally settling into a culture I was familiar with as a child from family history; the American Indian culture and spiritualism which I embraced for a decade until being frightened to my core by the powers I was playing with. Along the way, a cousin gave me Chuck Missler’s Beyond Series which (me being a technical nerd and geek) really piqued my interest and caused me to start becoming interested in the bible.

I was still a drunk and a wreck and after countless attempts to stop drinking over a decade had failed, I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. At some point I noticed one of these recordings about the bible and creation, so after years of attempting to become sober on my own and of trying to throw off the chains of addiction, I decided to pray to this God that I hadn’t prayed to in a couple of decades. I threw it all at His feet and in desperation I prayed to my Lord and Savior on January 15, 2010 and He rescued and healed me then and there.

Even after that miracle, I couldn’t understand why He would do that…this was the first time I had a seriously positive interaction from any god I had prayed to in my life. I couldn’t believe I qualified for his grace and mercy and I had several weeks of doubt and confusion as to why He would actually accept me after all the debasing and hatred I had shown toward Him and His followers over the decades (I later realized Satan, my old dance partner, was continuing to condemn me) until one night, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the childhood story of the Prodigal Son. After reading this powerful story. I realized I was that terribly unappreciative son and I could actually believe the story was written for even a clown like me. The story of the Prodigal Son was one of my saving graces and I still remind myself of this marvelous story and the wonderfully gracious and forgiving God that we have.

God Bless, Jim


for Koinonia Institute

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