The DoorkeeperScripture: Mark 13:33-37 (Matthew 24:42)33 Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come.34 It is like aman going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge,each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Watchtherefore -- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in theevening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning -- 36 lest he comesuddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Watch."Meditation: What does the Lord expect from us and are we ready to meet hisexpectations? The Lord Jesus told a story that was familiar to his followers -- thenecessity for laborers to be ready for action and ready to give their best when themaster returned from his journey. Were these servants excited or anxious abouttheir masters return? The watchful servants looked forward to the future becausethey knew their master would be pleased and would reward them for theirvigilance and hard work. Disaster and reprisal, however, awaited those who wereunprepared because of carelessness or laziness.The prophet Isaiah tells us that God will surely reward those who wait for him:"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a Godbesides you, who works for those who wait for him" (Isaiah 64:4). Our Master, theLord Jesus Christ, entrusts us with his gifts and grace and he expects to be readyfor action and prepared for the future. Our call is not only believe, but to watch;not only to love, but to watch; not only to obey, but to watch! What are we towatch for? The greatest event to come --the return of our Master and Lord JesusChrist when he comes again in glory at the end of the age. The kind of watchingour Lord has in mind is not a passive "wait and see what happens" approach tolife. The Lord urges us to vigilance and to active prayer that his "kingdom maycome" and his "will be done on earth as it is in heaven". We are not only towatch forChrist, but to watch with Christ. The Lord wants us to have our heartsand minds fixed on him and his word. He wants us to be ready for his action andgrace in our lives and in our world. Those who "wait" for the Lord will not bedisappointed. He will surely come with his grace and saving help. Do you watchfor the Lords action in your life with expectant faith and with joyful hope?"Lord, awaken my heart and mind to receive your word and to prepare for yourcoming again. Free me from complacency, from the grip of sin and worldliness,and from attachments to things which pass away. May I always be eager toreceive your word and be ready to meet you when you came again." The Thief and the ServantsScripture: Luke 12:32-48 (see also Matthew 24: 42-51)32 "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you thekingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with pursesthat do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where nothief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there willyour heart be also. 35 "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be
like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast,so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed arethose servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you,he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them.38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed arethose servants! 39 But know this, that if the householder had known at what hourthe thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 Youalso must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour." 41 Petersaid, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" 42 And the Lord said,"Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over hishousehold, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is thatservant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 44 Truly, I say to you,he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, `Mymaster is delayed in coming, and begins to beat the menservants and themaidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servantwill come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know,and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant whoknew his masters will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shallreceive a severe beating. 48 But he who did not know, and did what deserved abeating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of himwill much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demandthe more.Meditation: What does treasure, a thief, a wedding feast, and a homecoming havein common? Jesus loved to tell stories (in the form of parables) using commoneveryday images to draw some rather unusual comparisons and often quiteunexpected lessons for his audience. There is an element of surprise in the storyof the master returning home unexpectedly after the marriage feast. Will he catchhis servant sleeping rather than keeping watchful guard? And how about theperson who possessed great wealth, but woke up one day to discover that a thiefhad carried it all off. What does this say to us about the kingdom of heaven? Thetreasure God offers is of far greater value that any earthly treasure and moresecure! But its possible to lose this treasure if we do not guard what has beenentrusted to us by God. What is this treasure? The Lord offers us a relationshipwith him as his sons and daughters and the promise of eternal life as well. Theimage Jesus uses here is a great wedding feast in which the master honors hisguests by seating them in the place of honor and personally waiting on themhimself. This parable also contains a lesson in faithfulness and a warning againstsloth. Why is faithfulness so important to God? For one, its the foundation forany lasting and meaningful relationship. Faithfulness or fidelity allows us topersevere in living out an unswerving commitment. The Lord is committed to usin a bond of unbreakable love and fidelity. That is what covenant means --keeping ones word, promise, and commitment no matter how tough or difficult itgets. Faithfulness is a key character trait of God and one that he expects of us.Fortunately God gives the grace and strength to be faithful. He also rewardsfaithfulness. Why is fidelity or faithfulness so difficult today? Modern societyextols freedom over fidelity and doesnt want to be bound to an unknown oruncertain future. Its also inconvenient and a burden to the pursuit of ones owninterests. We badly need to recover this virtue, not only for our own sake, but forthe sake of the next generation as well. If we want to pass on the faith then weneed to first be faithful models for our youth. Faithfulness demands consistency, a
determination to stay the course, and hard work. Cal Ripken, the Americanbaseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, is a sports hero simply because healways shows up and gives his best. He hasnt missed one game in his 26 years ofplaying baseball! Only one other player in history has come close to that record.In 1983 he hurt his hand sliding on artificial turf and was unable to grip the bat atfirst; he somehow gritted his teeth and got five hits that night, two of them homeruns. The joy and privilege of being a son or daughter of God carries with it anawesome responsibility. The Lord expects us to make good use of the gifts andgraces he gives to us. The more he gives, the more he requires. The temptationwhile the Master is away is to put off for tomorrow what we know the Masterexpects us to do today! Are you faithful to God and ready to give him an accountof your stewardship?"Lord, you are faithful even when I fail. Help me to remain ever faithful to youand to not shrink back when I encounter difficulties. Make me diligent in theexercise of my responsibilities and wise and prudent in the use of my gifts, timeand resources." The Strong Man BoundScripture: Luke 11:15-26 (Mark 3:24-27; Matthew 12:29)15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Be-elzebul, the prince ofdemons"; 16 while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven. 17 Buthe, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself islaid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided againsthimself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Be-elzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Be-elzebul, by whom do your sons castthem out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of Godthat I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When astrong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; 22 butwhen one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away hisarmor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. 23 He who is not with me isagainst me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 24 "When the uncleanspirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; andfinding none he says, `I will return to my house from which I came. 25 And whenhe comes he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and brings sevenother spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the laststate of that man becomes worse than the first.Meditation: Do you make full use of the spiritual protection which the Lordprovides for his people? The Lord assures us of his protection from spiritualharm. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High yourhabitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. For he willgive his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:9-11).Jesus numerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled andoppressed by the work of evil spirits. Jesus himself encountered personalopposition and battled with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness justbefore his public ministry. He overcame the evil one through his obedience to the
will of his Father. Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesushealings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How couldhe get the power and authority to release individuals from Satans power? Theyassumed that he had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satanrather than to God.Jesus answers their charge with two arguments. There were many exorcists inPalestine in Jesus time. So Jesus retorted by saying that they also incriminate theirown kin who cast out demons. If they condemn Jesus they also condemnthemselves. In his second argument he asserts that no kingdom divided againstitself can survive for long? We have witnessed enough civil wars in our own timeto prove the destructive force at work here for the annihilation of whole peoplesand their land. If Satan lends his power against his own forces then he is finished.How can a strong person be defeated except by someone who is stronger? Jesusasserted his power and authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of thereign of God. Jesus reference to the finger of God points back to Mosesconfrontation with Pharoah and his magicians who represented Satan and thekingdom of darkness (see Exodus 8:19). Jesus claims to be carrying on thetradition of Moses whose miracles freed the Israelites from bondage by the fingerof God. Gods power is clearly at work in the exorcisms which Jesus performedand they give evidence that Gods kingdom has come.What is the point of Jesus grim story about a vacant house being occupied by anevil force? It is not enough to banish evil thoughts and habits. We must also fillthe void with God who is the source of all that is good and upright. Augustine ofHippo said that our lives have a God-shaped void which only God can fillsatisfactory. If we attempt to leave it vacant or to fill it with something else, wewill be worse in the end. What do you fill the void in your life with? Jesus makesit clear that there are no neutral parties. We are either for Jesus or against him, forthe kingdom of God or against it. There are two kingdoms in opposition to oneanother – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness under the rule ofSatan. If we disobey Gods word, we open to door to the power of sin and Satan.If we want to live in freedom from sin and Satan, then our house must be occupiedby Jesus where he is enthroned as Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace andsecurity of a life submitted to God and his word?"Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there benothing in my life that is not under your lordship." he Divided RealmScripture: Mark 3:22-27 (Luke 11:17-20)22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Be-elzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons." 23 And he calledthem to him, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If akingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house isdivided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan hasrisen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
27 But no one can enter a strong mans house and plunder his goods, unless he firstbinds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.Meditation: Are you adequately protected from spiritual danger and evil? Jesusnumerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled and oppressedby the works of evil spirits. Jesus himself encountered personal opposition andbattle with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness just before hispublic ministry. He overcame the evil one through his obedience to the will of hisFather. Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus healings andexorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How could he get thepower and authority to release individuals from Satans power? They assumed thathe had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than toGod. Jesus answers their charge with two arguments. There were many exorcistsin Palestine in Jesus time. So Jesus retorted by saying that they also incriminatetheir own kin who cast out demons. If they condemn Jesus they also condemnthemselves. In his second argument he asserts that no kingdom divided againstitself can survive for long? We have witnessed enough civil wars in our own timeto prove the destructive force at work here for the annihilation of whole peoplesand their land. If Satan lends his power against his own forces then he is finished.How can a strong person be defeated except by someone who is stronger? Jesusasserted his authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of the reign ofGod. Gods power is clearly at work in the exorcisms which Jesus performed andthey give evidence that Gods kingdom has come.What is the point of Jesus grim story about a strong mans house being occupiedby an evil force? Our foe and the arch-enemy of God, who is Satan, is strongerthan us. Unless we are clothed in Gods strength, we cannot withstand Satan withour own strength. What does Satan wish to take from us? Our faith and confidencein God and our submission to his kingly rule. Satan can only have power ordominion over us if we listen to his lies and succumb to his will which is contraryto the will of God. Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties in thisworld. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it.There are two kingdoms in opposition to one another – the kingdom of God andthe kingdom of darkness under the rule of Satan. If we disobey Gods word, weopen to door to the power of sin and Satan. If we want to live in freedom from sinand Satan, then our house must be occupied by Jesus where he is enthroned asLord as Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God andhis word?"Lord Jesus, you are my hope and salvation. Be the ruler of my heart and themaster of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under yourlordship." The Bothersome NeighborScripture: Luke 11:5-85 And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnightand say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on
a journey, and I have nothing to set before him; 7 and he will answer from within,`Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; Icannot get up and give you anything? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up andgive him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he willrise and give him whatever he needs.Meditation: What can we expect from God, especially when we recognize that hedoesnt owe us anything and that we dont deserve his grace and favor? Jesus usedthe illustration of a late-night traveller to teach his listeners an important lessonabout how God treats us in contrast to the kind of treatment we might expect fromgood neighbors. The rule of hospitality in biblical times required the cooperationof the entire community in entertaining an unexpected or late-night guest. Whetherthe guest was hungry or not, a meal would be served. In a small village it would beeasy to know who had baked bread that day. Bread was essential for a mealbecause it served as a utensil for dipping and eating from the common dishes.Asking for bread from ones neighbor was both a common occurrence and anexpected favor. To refuse to give bread would bring shame because it was a signof inhospitality.If a neighbor can be imposed upon and coerced into giving bread in the middle ofthe night, how much more hospitable is God, who, no matter what thecircumstances, is generous and ready to give us what we need. Augustine of Hipporeminds us that "God, who does not sleep and who awakens us from sleep that wemay ask, gives much more graciously." In conclusion Jesus makes a startlingclaim: How much more will the heavenly Father give! The Lord is ever ready togive us not only what we need, but more than we can expect. He gives freely ofhis Holy Spirit that we may share in his life and joy. Do you approach yourheavenly Father with confidence in his mercy and kindness?"Heavenly Father, you are merciful, gracious and kind. May I never doubt yourlove nor hesitate to seek you with confidence in order to receive from your handthe daily bread I need to live as your disciple and child." The Sons RequestScripture: Luke 11:5-13 (Matthew 7:9-11)5 And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnightand say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived ona journey, and I have nothing to set before him; 7 and he will answer from within,`Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; Icannot get up and give you anything? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up andgive him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he willrise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, Ask, and it will be givenyou; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For every onewho asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will beopened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fishgive him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If youthen, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much morewill the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Meditation: Jesus illustrations of food and hospitality tell us something about thegenerosity of a loving God towards his people. What can we expect from God,especially when we recognize that he doesnt owe us anything and that we dontdeserve his grace and favor? In the first parable we see how a neighbor is coercedinto giving his friend what he needs to meet the demands of hospitality. Thesecond parable of the father feeding his son illustrates the unthinkable! Howcould a loving father refuse to give his son what is good; or worse, to give himwhat is harmful? In conclusion Jesus makes a startling claim: Howmuch more will the heavenly Father give to those who ask! Our heavenly Fathergraciously gives beyond our expectations. That is why we can boldly pray: Giveus this day our daily bread. Do you pray with confident expectation that yourheavenly Father will give you what you need to live and serve him? "Heavenly Father, your grace knows no bounds, for you are merciful, graciousand kind. May I never doubt your love nor hesitate to seek you with confidence inorder to obtain the gifts, graces, and daily provision I need to live as your discipleand child." The Unjust Judge and the Importunate WidowScripture: Luke 18:1-81 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and notlose heart. 2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared Godnor regarded man; 3 and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to himand saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary. 4 For a while he refused; butafterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man, 5 yetbecause this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out byher continual coming." 6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judgesays. 7 And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Willhe delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily.Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?"Meditation: Persistence pays off, and thats especially true for those who trust inGod. Jesus tells a story that is all too true -- a defenseless widow is takenadvantaged of and refused her rights. Through sheer persistence she wears downan unscrupulous judge until he gives her justice. Jesus illustrates how God as ourJudge is much quicker to bring us his justice, blessing, and help when we need it.But we can easily loose heart and forget to ask our Heavenly Father for his graceand help. Jesus told this parable to give fresh hope and confidence to his disciples.In this present life we can expect adversity and trials, but we are not without hopein Gods provident care and justice. When trials come your way and setbacksdisappoint you, where do you turn for help? Do you pray with expectant faith andconfidence in Gods merciful care and providence for you?"Lord, give me faith to believe your promises and give me perseverance and hopeto withstand trials and adversities. Help me to trust in your unfailing love and tofind joy and contentment in you alone."
The Pharisee and the PublicanScripture: Luke 18:9-149 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they wererighteous and despised others: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one aPharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus withhimself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust,adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of allthat I get. 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyesto heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner! 14 I tellyou, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every onewho exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."Meditation: What did Jesus wish to tell his hearers in the story of the Phariseeand the tax collector? Luke gives us a hint: Jesus warns us about the danger ofdespising others. Contempt is more than being mean-minded. It springs from theassumption that one is qualified to sit in the seat of judgment and to ascertain whois good and just. Jesus story caused offense for those who regarded "taxcollectors" as unworthy of Gods grace and favor. How could Jesus put down a"religious leader" and raise up a "public sinner"? Jesus parable speaks about thenature of prayer and our relationship with God. It does this by contrasting twovery different attitudes towards prayer. The Pharisee, who represented those whotake pride in their religious practices, exalted himself at the expense of others.Absorbed with his own sense of "self-satisfaction" and "self-congratulation" hemainly prayed with himself. His prayer consisted of prideful boasts of what he didand of disdain for those he despised. The Pharisee tried to justify himself; but onlyGod can justify. The tax collector, who represented those despised by religiouspeople, humbled himself before God and begged for mercy. His prayer was heardby God because he had remorse for his sins. He sought God with humility ratherthan with pride. This parable presents both an opportunity and a warning. Prideleads to illusion and self-deception. Humility helps us to see ourselves as we reallyare and it inclines us to Gods grace and mercy. God dwells with the humble ofheart who recognize their own sinfulness and who acknowledge Gods mercy andsaving grace. I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of acontrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15). God cannot hear us if we despiseothers. Do you humbly seek Gods mercy and do you show mercy to others,especially those you find difficult to love and to forgive?"Lord, may your love control my thoughts and actions that I may do what ispleasing to you. Show me where I lack charity, mercy, and forgiveness toward myneighbor. And help me to be generous in giving to others what you have sogenerously given to me." The Good SamaritanScripture: Luke 10:25-37
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, whatshall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law?How do you read?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God withall your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all yourmind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answeredright; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said toJesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down fromJerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him,and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going downthat road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise aLevite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, hehad compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil andwine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care ofhim. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper,saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when Icome back. 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the manwho fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him."And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."Meditation: When you encounter others in trouble, especially with people youwant to avoid, how do you respond? Jesus posed such a scenario to the religiousexperts of his day. He contrasted the attitudes of three bystanders to the scene of abloody victim beaten half-dead. Why did the religious leaders refuse help while anoutsider, a Samaritan who was despised by the Jews, came to the rescue? Whoshowed true compassion and mercy? Jesus makes the supposed villain, thedespised Samaritan, the merciful one as an example for the status conscious Jews.Why didnt the priest and Levite stop to help? The priest probably didnt want torisk the possibility of ritual impurity. His piety got in the way of charity. TheLevite approached close to the victim, but stopped short of actually helping him.Perhaps he feared that bandits might be waiting to ambush him. The Levite putpersonal safety ahead of saving his neighbor. Are you willing and ready to dogood for others, even to those you do not want to associate with?"Lord, may your love always be the foundation of my life. And may my love foryou express itself in an eagerness to do good for others." The Prodigal SonScripture: Luke 15:11-3211 And he said, "There was a man who had two sons; 12 and the younger of themsaid to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me. And hedivided his living between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger songathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there hesquandered his property in loose living. 14 And when he had spent everything, agreat famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. 15 So he went andjoined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields tofeed swine. 16 And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and
no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, `How many ofmy fathers hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here withhunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I havesinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called yourson; treat me as one of your hired servants." 20 And he arose and came to hisfather. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion,and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, `Father, Ihave sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be calledyour son. 22 But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, andput it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; 23 and bring thefatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24 for this my son was dead,and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to make merry. 25"Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, heheard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what thismeant. 27 And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killedthe fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound. 28 But he was angryand refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answeredhis father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed yourcommand; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends.30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots,you killed for him the fatted calf! 31 And he said to him, `Son, you are alwayswith me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to make merry and be glad,for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."Meditation: The parable of the father and his two sons is the longest one in thegospels. What is the main point of the story? Is it the contrast between anobedient and a disobedient son or is it between the reception given to a spendthriftson by the father and the reception given by the eldest son? Jesus contrasts thefathers merciful love with the eldest sons somewhat harsh reaction to his errantbrother and to the lavish party his joyful father throws for his repentant son. Whilethe errant son had wasted his fathers money, his father, nonetheless, maintainedunbroken love for his son. The son, while he was away, learned a lot abouthimself. And he realized that his father had given him love which he had notreturned. He had yet to learn about the depth of his fathers love for him. His deephumiliation at finding himself obliged to feed on the husks of pigs and hisreflection on all he had lost, led to his repentance and decision to declare himselfguilty before his father. While he hoped for reconciliation with his father, hecould not have imagined a full restoration of relationship. The father did not needto speak words of forgiveness to his son; his actions spoke more loudly andclearly! The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet symbolize the newlife -- pure, worthy, and joyful -- of anyone who returns to God. The prodigalcould not return to the garden of innocence, but he was welcomed and reinstatedas a son. The errant sons dramatic change from grief and guilt to forgiveness andrestoration express in picture-language the resurrection from the dead, a rebirth tonew life from spiritual death. The parable also contrasts mercy and its opposite --unforgiveness. The father who had been wronged, was forgiving. But the eldestson, who had not been wronged, was unforgiving. His unforgiveness turns intocontempt and pride. And his resentment leads to his isolation and estrangementfrom the community of forgiven sinners. In this parable Jesus gives a vivid pictureof God and what God is like. God is truly kinder than us. He does not lose hope orgive up when we stray. He rejoices in finding the lost and in leading them home.
Do you know the joy of repentance and restoration of sonship with your heavenlyFather?"Lord, may I never doubt your love nor take for granted the mercy you haveshown to me. Fill me with your transforming love that I may be merciful as youare merciful."
The Parables of Jesus "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world." (Matt. 13:35) OPEN & CLOSED DOORS[Click here for a printable version of this page] The Closed Door (Luke 13:24-30) The Doorkeeper (Mark 13:33-37; cf. Matt 24:42) Introduction: What Is a The Thief in the Night and the Faithful Servants (Matthew 24:42-51.; Parable? Luke 12:32-48.) The Strong Man Bound (Matt.12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21 f.) "No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a The Divided Realm (Mark 3:24-26; Luke 11:17-20) cellar or under a bushel, but on a stand, that those who enter may see the light." (Luke The Unoccupied House or The Demons Invasion (Matthew 12:43-45; 11:33) Luke 11:24-26) The Importunate Neighbor (Luke 11:5-8) The Sons Request (Matthew 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13) The Unjust Judge or The Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8) The Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)
WORK AND WAGESPARABLES FROM NATURE Master and Servant (Luke 17:7-10) The Sower and the Seeds (Mark 4:3-9; Matt 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-8) The Servant Entrusted with Authority or The Faithful and Unfaithful The Grain of Wheat (John 12:24) Servants (Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46) The Weeds in the Grain or the Tares (Matt 13:24-30) The Waiting Servants (Luke 12:35-38; Mark 13:33-37) The Net (Matthew 13:47-50) The Laborers in the Vineyard or The Generous Employer (Matt.20:1- The Seed Growing Secretly (Spontaneously) or The Patient 16) Husbandman (Mark 4:26-29) The Money in Trust or The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12- The Mustard Seed (Matt13:31f.;Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18 f.) 27) The Leaven (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20 f.) The Lamp (Matt 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16, 11:31) and The City The Budding Fig Tree (Matt 24:32 f.; Mark 13:28 f.; Luke 21:19-31) Set on a Hill (Matt. 5:14b) The Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9) The Bodys Lamp (Matthew 6:22 f.; Luke 11:34-36) The Birds of Heaven (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24) The Discarded Salt (Matt 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34 f.) The Flowers of the Field (Matt 6:28-30; Luke 12:27f.) The Patch and the Wineskins (Matt. 9:16 f.; Mark 2:21 f.; Luke 5:36- 39) The Vultures & the Carcass (Matt 24:28; Luke 17:37) The Householders Treasure (Matthew 13:52) The Tree and its Fruits (Matthew 7:16; Luke 6:43-49) The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-12) Revised! The Weather Signs (Luke 12:54-56; cf. Matthew 26:2 f.; Mark 8:11- 13) The Defendant (Luke 12:58 f.; Matthew 5:25 f.) The Unforgiving Official or The Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23- 35) The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21) The Wicked Vinedressers (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9- 16) The Two Builders (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49) The Two Debtors (Luke 7:41-43) The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44) The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45 f.)WEDDINGS AND FEASTS LOST AND FOUND, FATHER AND SON The Sulking Children or The Children in the Marketplace (Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35) The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) The Arrogant Guest (Luke 14:7-11) The Prodigal Son or The Loving Father (Luke 15:11-32) The Bridegrooms Friend (John 3:28) The Two Sons, The Apprentice Son, and The Slave and Son The Bridegrooms Attendants (Matt.9:15a; Mark 2:18 f.; Luke 5:34) (Matthew 21:28-32; John 5:19-20a; John 3:35) The Brides Girlfriends or Ten Virgins (Matt25:1-13) The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10) The Tower Builder and The Warring King (Luke 14:28-32) The Lost Sheep (Matthew 28:12-14; Luke 15:4-7) The Wedding Feast or The Unwilling Guests (Matt 22:1-10; Luke The Shepherd, the Thief, and the Doorkeeper (John 10:1-18) 14:16-24) The Doctor and the Sick (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5: 31 f.) The Wedding Garment (Matthew 22:11-14) The Great Assize or The Sheep and the Goats (Matthe The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)