The Prodigal {Part 2}

Scripture: Luke 15:17-24

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!
18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,
19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. ’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.
23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast,
24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.


In introducing today’s message, I want to repeat some things I said last week. This is a story of a loving Father who had two rebellious sons. One was overtly rebellious and the other was covertly rebellious but neither, in the beginning of the story have a good relationship with their loving Father. This story, the most famous story Jesus told is a chiasm. It is a parallel and systematic poem of a sort that has a structured scheme, a mirrored pattern. We will say more about this is the last message.

It is also an allegory which means it is not literally about a father and two sons. Jesus is appealing to the Pharisees and they are represented in this story by the elder brother. The Father is God and the Prodigal is the Gentile, the sinners, the outcast in Jewish society. If you miss this, you will miss the basic message of the story.

Yet, within the story, there is amazing theological truths. This story is like a deep mine, the deeper you dig, the more precious the stones, the gems of truth. Today, we are going to look at the nature of REPENTANCE through the eyes of our LORD.


{V.17} When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!

The FALL OF MAN left us with a concussion. Sin has fouled up our thinking. There is a certain insanity associated with sin. If a person is thinking clearly, they think long term, they think about consequences but the prodigal had made a rash decision without thinking about consequences. He was thinking about his independence, his freedom and he may have even thought he was in a quest to find himself but the opposite happened. Think about this boys decision: think about what he gave up in order to pursue his rebellion.
  1. He had a loving Father 
  2. He had security
  3. He had status, position, authority of sonship
  4. He had responsibility
  5. He had privilege [son of a wealthy benevolent father]

The boy traded all of this for a chance to sleep with harlots. You tell me just how intelligent a decision he made. Sin is crazy, it is insane. Just look at our behavior in America and for proof:

  1. We kill babies and call it Pro-choice. Pro-choice for who, not a good choice for the baby. We have Supreme Court Justices and college professors who still refuse to acknowledge that the baby in the womb is a human person. These people are ignoring scientific data that proves home human these babies are and yet we keep killing them. Tell me this is no insane!
  2. Then we have women wanting to be men and men women: some are so mixed up they don’t what or who they are. The Bruce Jenner thing is insane, it is crazy. Men marrying men is nuts. Same sex marriage is insane.
  3. Not to mention the craziness of drugs and what it can do to destroy your life.

Jesus said, This boy finally came to his senses, many translations say “He came to himself” and it is a more literal translation. The Greek word is heautou, a reflexive pronoun that means himself, herself, itself or themselves.

There is a great theological truth here: pursuing your lust will never help you find yourself. Sin will actually destroy any chance you have at becoming who you really are. The boy had no real identity a part from the FATHER. He was just a prodigal, a spendthrift, a whore monger, a nobody, a poor broke dirty pig pen slave. You are never going to know who you are a part from CHRIST.

I like all the translations: the NIRV reads, “Then he began to think clearly again.” Isn’t that great. Sin had clouded his thinking so he did in fact came to his senses and he also returned to being himself.


{17-19} At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,
and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

NOTE: He Changed his mind about….

  1. Home where there is comfort and security
  2. Father who is loving merciful and kind
  3. Sin which is against heaven and man
  4. Himself unworthy of the Father’s love

Jesus nor the bible ever glorifies sin. You do not have to pursue your rebellion to know that you need grace. I am an elder brother and you will understand in weeks to come that this is a confession not a boast. I was afraid to go to the far country. I was afraid to sleep with harlots. I don’t know anything about wild parties or night clubs but I understand grace just as much as any prodigal. How can that be? God has revealed me to me and the only thing that kept me from the far country was my fear of HIM, it was not goodness. I have slept with harlots in my mind, I have thought long and hard about licentious living. Plus my pride, arrogance and self-righteousness are more loathsome to God than a prodigals overt rebellion. 

You don’t have to experiment in sin to know grace. Trust me, the truly repentant Prodigals never encourage others to follow their footsteps.


{Romans 2:4} Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

The Prodigal did not repent because he became good, he came to his senses and realized that his Father was good. The boy was well aware of his own condition. He was starving. Not only was he touching the unclean swine, he was even tempted to eat with them. He was filthy, hungry, broke, forsaken and lonely. He had no dreams, ambitions or goals. He was at Wits End. He had exhausted all of his resources and he had no where to turn other than to his merciful father.

As he meditated on the goodness of his father in providing for his house hold and even hired servants, he decided to go home, through himself at the mercy of his father. It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance, not our goodness. We don’t have any goodness. All our goodness is stained with a selfish intent. We are as broke as the prodigal. We are poor, dirty, filthy, depraved sinners and we deserve death and hell, not love and forgiveness.


Notice the Prodigals resolute language [v.18-20]…I will go home…I will say to my father…I have sinned…I am not worthy to be your son.

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath?  Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.

True Repentance always produces radical change. If you are not changing, you are not repenting.

The Prodigal was a changed man. He returned to His Father but as a new man. When he left, he was proud, arrogant, selfish but now he comes home humble, broken and ready to serve. Wow! What a change. He went from wanting to be served to willing to serve, willing to do whatever his father commanded.

Folks, you cannot fake repentance. The Father we repent to knows if our repentance is genuine.


Would you repent today? Of what you say?

  1. The death of Christ
  2. Your selfish and proud ways
  3. Your attitude toward people

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