Heard at Café: 10/01/2019

Tonight was Harry Potter Café. We ate delicious lemon golden Snitches, and sipped on butter beer.

Jeremy spoke tonight on Luke 15:11-32, the story of the prodigal son.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his propertybetween them.13 “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. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.17 “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! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 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.21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 “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. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 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. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 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.’”
This story seems unfair. The older son has been working faithfully for all of these years, but gets nothing. The younger son leaves, comes back, and gets a party. It almost seems to be rewarding his poor choices.

The father has a completely different view, though. He calls the younger son worthy just because he's his son. It's not about whatever the son has done in the past or will do in the future. The father loves both of his sons, unrelated to what they have and haven't done.

Jesus wants both groups of people listening to see themselves as the sons in the story. The Pharisees and teachers of the law would be positioned as the older son, while the tax collectors and sinners would be positioned as the younger son.

An inheritance is what would have been received after the father had died. Asking for his inheritance early is equivalent to the younger son already wishing that the father was dead. It would be easy for the outcome of the story to be that the younger son is punished for this sort of sentiment. Why would God follow a different script? It seems almost too good to be true.

Jesus calls us worthy, regardless of what we have and haven't done. He shows us that the world deserves grace because no one deserves it.

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