Series: “PLEASE COME HOME: The Prodigal’s Journey from Shame to Grace”
Sunday, October 22, 2017: “BIG BROTHER SYNDROME—Part One”” • Pastor David R. Stokes
The story commonly referred to as The Parable of the Prodigal Son is really about two sons and their father. The most compelling part of the story for most of us is the happy ending when the rebellious good-for-nothing-brat comes home after ruining his life. He’s embraced by his father. That’s love. That’s something to celebrate.
Most of us love to root for the underdog, for the person who screws up, but somehow turns things around. We love that stuff. But remember, Jesus was speaking to an eclectic group that day long ago. He was talking to sinners—one of his favorite things to do. But he had a message for the Pharisees—those sour-grapes critics who were always looking for something to criticize.
The late former President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, used to bemoan how the press and media never loved him like they did his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. He once said, “If reporters saw me swimming across the Potomac, the headline the next morning would be, ‘LBJ can’t walk on water.’”
Haters will hate, and critics will criticize. Can you imagine it? They even criticized Jesus? How messed up is that?
Well, Jesus saved the last part of his tale of two sons just for them. Gotcha. The older brother was clearly an angry, jealous, bitter, self-righteous idiot—just like the Pharisees.
His brother made it home. I wonder if he ever did?
"The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither." -- C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”
- What tendencies do I have that are like the younger brother?
- What tendencies do I have that are like the older brother?
- Which do I experience more often—Joy or Anger?