GOD’S PROMISE TO PRODIGALS (1)
Here’s an interesting and largely unknown thing about the story of the Prodigal Son, as pointed out by Pastor James Bradley.
Jewish families living in small villages were tightly knit communities where people knew one another well. So when something like this happened, word travelled fast.
When the younger son demanded his inheritance it was like saying to his father, ‘I can’t wait until you die. I want what’s mine, now!’ Such a thing was unheard of. Then he went away, forgot the values he’d been taught, and squandered his inheritance on parties and prostitutes. As a result he ended up destitute, working in a pig-sty.
For a Jew, you can imagine the stigma. After breaking his father’s heart and the rules of the community, he decided to come back home. And that’s when his father ‘ran’ to meet him.
Here’s why. Had he reached home after failing so badly, the village elders would have held a ‘ceremony of shame’ known in Hebrew as kezazah. They’d have taken a clay pitcher and smashed it on the ground in front of him, meaning his ties with the community were broken and he was no longer welcome.
That’s why his father ran to meet him. He was saying, ‘I have to get to my son with grace before they get to him with the law. I have to give him hope before they take it away. I have a different ceremony in mind: a homecoming party to celebrate his restoration.’ What the father did for his Prodigal Son that day, God will do for you today, if you’ll only turn to Him.
‘…when he was still a great way off, his father…had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.’
ENCOURAGEMENT 4 TODAY
John 3:35-36; 4:1
4, 23; 5:24; 6:37, 40, 63
The father loves the son & has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the son shall not see life, but the wrath of god remains on him.
Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life! The hour is coming, & is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the father in spirit & truth, for the father is seeking such people to worship him!
Whoever hears my word & believes him who sent me has eternal life! He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life! An hour is coming, & is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the son of god, & those who hear will live!
All that the father gives me will come to me, & whoever comes to me I will never cast out!!!
This is the will of my father that everyone who looks on the son & believes in him should have eternal life, & I will raise him up on the last day! The words that I have spoken to you are spirit & life!