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The Prodigal Son

Back to the Basics: The Teachings of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This message explains the shock value of Jesus' Parable, The Prodigal Son alongside the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. It also connect Jesus' parables to the gospel.

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Jesus Loved the Speak in Parables

Crazy Example with No Context Explained Before Hand

Head Hog of the Trough
“I’d like to speak to the head hog at the trough!”
“I beg your pardon?” replied the Church secretary, unsure if she had heard the voice on the other line correctly.
“I’d like to speak to the head hog at the trough,” said the voice again.
“Well, if you’re referring to the Pastor,” she said indignantly, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to address him with the respect he deserves. You may refer to him as ‘Reverend Jeff’, ‘Pastor Jeff’, or even ‘Brother Jeff’ but certainly we would never refer to a man of God as ‘the head hog at the trough’.”
“Well, I was wanting to give $100,000.00 to the Church budget,” the stranger said.
“Hold on just a second,” the Secretary replied, “I think I hear him oinking in the next room.”
Returning from Bible study one evening, an elderly woman was surprised to find a burglar in her living room holding a burlap sack filled with her belongings. Not knowing what else to do, the woman recalled the Bible verse they had been discussing earlier at Church. It was which says: “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so your sins will be forgiven.” So she called out to the burglar, “!”
The burglar looked up startled with wide eyes. Feeling that she had struck a nerve, the woman repeated, louder and more forcefully this time, “!”
The man’s hands began to shake and he dropped the sack at his feet, slowly backing toward the door. By this point the woman could tell that she had really convicted the burglar so, emboldened, she cried out at the top of her voice, “!”
With that, the burglar ran out the door and jumped into his getaway car without touching the ground the whole way. “Drive! Drive!” He yelled to his partner as soon as he was in the vehicle. As they peeled off, the partner saw that the burglar was white as a ghost.
“What in the world happened in there?” he asked.
“I’m never working this street again. I thought I was alone in that house then suddenly there was this crazy old broad in the living room screaming at me that she had an axe and two .38s!”
No Women in Heaven

Crazy Example Explained

Do any of you understand why I told you those two stories? What the meaning behind those two stories meant? Maybe some of the camp staff could help me out. “What are the meanings behind the two stories?” Those two stories that that I had just told you are called parables. Parables are a type of story that is meant to communicate a moral lesson or a spiritual story. You often have to search deep into the parable to figure out what is meant. For example the parable of the Hog and the Trough was about where your treasure is there your heart will be also, it demonstrated that the church secretary valued money more then her pastor’s title being used correctly. And just like the first parable the second one, , also has a moral teaching! Its about the importance of communicated the gospel effectively! Parable are those type of story that punches you in the heart when you finally get the true message!

Jesus Loved Speaking in Parables

Jesus loved speaking in parables. He would even tick a lot of people off by using them because they had a lot of shock value. A lot of His parables and stories went against the norm. A lot of the things he spoke convicted others. Let me give you an example of the shock value Jesus had, and if you disagree I want to here you boo!! I believe that ice-cream, pizza, chocolate, McDonalds are of the Devil… Lets throw in Taco Bell as well! Oh come on you can’t possibly think those things are good for you do you??? Anything that has sugar or carbs I believe are of the devil. But if you really study why I believe mean, I you’ll find that a lot deaths we have today are related to over consumption of sugar and carbs… You see at first it’s like you have to take a double take, you’re like what in the world did he just say, this is my way of life, my way of thinking, and he is challenging everything I believe to be good and wonderful. You see that was the reaction Jesus got with many of things he had said and done.

Jesus gave shocking stories

So what are some of the shocking things Jesus talked about in his parables
Example 1:
Example 2:
Example 3:
So lets jump into a parable of Jesus why don’t we!!

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Luke 15:1–7 NIV
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Luke 15:1

This is how people would rejoice

Do you understand that parable? It’s easy enough Jesus explains it. It does have some shock value to it. It communicates that one person has value that a shepherd would leave the 99 who are safe and secure to go look for the one that is. Why because the 99 or safe the sheep is not. Just like people angels rejoice over those that are lost being found more so than those who are found.
Now lets move on we have barely scratched the surface here of this parable!

The Parable of the Lost Coin

A person would rejoice over the lost sheep being found

Luke 15:8–10 NIV
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke

The Parable of the Lost Coin

A women would rejoice over that lost coin being found

So this one was always weird to me! Why in the world was that coin so important?? Like I understand her looking for it but throwing a party at the end because she found it, like she has nine more what in the world, don’t parties cost a lot to begin with, like she’s going to have five coins at the end of the day!! Well that’s not exactly how it goes you see these coins were pieced together as a type of adornment that showed that a women is ready to get married, so aka without it she wouldn’t be able to get married! I know that some of you 9 year olds are puking in your mouth right about now, but now the story makes sense! Of course she would frantically look for her coin and throw a party when she found it because she went through a crisis, but now her crisis is no more she can rejoice.
And again the story is compared to heavenly things, just like the lady in this parable the angels would rejoice over one sinner who repents, who finds his way!
Then there is the parable of the of the Lost Son… This is the longest parable in the story but is the most shocking parable of the three, one that the other two were leading up. This is the parable that people’s jaws would drop open so much that it would be dislocated!!
Drop your jaw for me for just a little bit.
No make them drop just a little bit more.
A little bit more.
Okay, none of you are getting close at all man what a tough crowd!! I expect your jaws left on the floor by the end of this lesson.

The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15:11–32 NIV
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 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!’ “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 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 15:11-
So if you don’t understand everything that happened there the younger son that asked for his inheritance early was the equivalent back then to saying, “Father I wish you would just die already so I can get on with my life and have your money.” It was extremely hateful and selfish to do what the son of this father had done, he literally decided that he didn’t want anything more to do with his father accept for receiving the inheritance that is alloted to him!
As we have read the youngest son gets what he wants! He then leaves his father’s house hold and starts living the high-life with his fathers money.
Side-note: I want you to think really quick if you were given 1 Million dollars to spend selfishly on yourself what would would you spend it on? How fast would it be gone? What would it say about you?
For the son he spent the money on selfish things, he spent it on prostitute so he could have sex whenever he wanted, he probably ate at the most lavish restaurants in town, he probably had the best wine to get drunk, the best drug to smoke, the best penthouse to live in… till one day his money was gone, then all those things vanished and worse yet there was a famine in the land, and for you that dont know what that is: it’s a food shortage. So you know what he had to do? Get a job a poor mans job, he had to work with stinky pigs; and I’m not sure if you noticed but although he had a job he was still starving due to the famine.
So let’s all stop for a second here! I want all you attention. If Jesus story just stopped here it wouldn’t have surprised anyone. If Jesus said, “Once there was a bad son, he hated his father, and because he hated his father he eventually got his inheritance early, and because he was stupid with the money his father gave he got a really stupid job and died in the end. Aka the moral of the story story is if you have a hateful stupid don’t worry he will die in a pig farm because he’s hateful and stupid!” The crowds would then be dismissed and everyone would of went home saying, “Makes sense!”
But no that’s not what happens at all! The son came to his senses right, he said I’ll go home and I’ll just become a slave, surely thats what I deserve to be now and even the slave of my father have it better than me right. So the son makes his way back.
Here is where the shocking and profound things take place, it says,
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. ”
The first thing that’s so shocking about this is that the father was watching for his son! I don’t think he just so happened to be going about his day and by chance peered way out into the distance and said, “Hey look it’s Timmy, that stupid disrespectful son of mine!” No he was watching every day looking out into the distance for His son longing for him to come to his senses and come home!
Secondly, He ran to His son! You might be like okay I get this one, he loved his son so much he was just very ancy to get to him and be the first to give him a big bear hug and a kiss first!
No, that’s not the reason why he ran, because he loved his son yes but not because he was ancy to get to him! You see in those days when a son disrespect his father, who was rich, the prominent ruler of in his household, he has a target placed on his head by everyone in the household to kill him. Because he deserved death because he commited treason against his father and his whole family when he disrespected and turned his back on his father! His father knew that if he didn’t get to his son first one of his slave would and strike him down in the field! Scary stuff. And, here’s another contextual point in order for the father to run he would have to gird up his loins basically what that looked like was showing most of your thigh, back then it would be humiliating for a the head of the household to do such a thing!
Thirdly, the father re-initiates the sonship of his son! When the comes in contact with his father he says “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
If you haven’t picked it up the father doesn’t even acknowledge what his son says, instead he says,
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
In other words saying this is my son, he is my son, I have not disowned him, his life will be preserved not because he deserves it to be preserved but because I love him! And because I love my son we will no longer think about his past that was so evil and so wrong but celebrate the here and now because he has found his way back to me! I love my son and nothing will ever change that!!!!!!

This is how God Loves People!

I know that was a lot of story telling but here is the punch line Jesus wanted people pick up it’s a very simple lesson. The first two parables while the did parallel the things that go on in heaven when a lost person comes to repentance it was easy for the people to visualize that, “Yeah of course someone would celebrate finding his lost sheep. And yes a young woman would celebrate finding a lost coin!” Because this is how people would value those things and yeah they probably could even reason why the angels in heaven would rejoice over a lost person being found, those are cute tidy little story. But once Jesus gets to the parable of the lost son He shows what it looks like for a lost person to be found. That the Father in this story is God, that the is a picture of all humanity (that is you and me) who have gone their own way, and this is a story about how God values His creation that He is ever watching in relentless love for when we will come to our senses and say I need to go back home! Aka the first two parables did a really good job at showing how people valued thing but the thirds did a really good job showing how God values people! That he would be will to be undignified in order to save us from what we deserve: death and destruction in hell. And if His love is willing to look undignified by all humanity what does it actually look like?!
Well… I believe that’s in the person of Jesus Christ Himself who was literally God, who gave himself up to Roman crucifixion, which is hours and hours of brutal torcher, in which it ended with him being nailed as a criminal on a cross, completely undignified! So you and I can be saved!
This is where I will be ending for the night. Small group leaders you I am going to pray us out and after I want you to take your students to their small group devotion! And listen your small group leaders are going to ask you some questions about tonights lesson, I want you to feel free to participate in these discussion feeling free to ask your small group leaders questions as well. The Word of God is powerful, the teaching of Jesus are powerful and convicting, and hey if your like I want to have Jesus become my Lord and savior tonight, I want to be saved by His sacrifice of the cross speak to your leaders feel free to speak to me because at the end of the day and at the end of this week it’s all about you experiance the saving power of Jesus Christ and drawing near to Him!
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