Week of Feb 20th — Day Three

February 23rd, 2011 | Tags:

            Day One   |  Day Two   |  Day Three   |  Day Four   |   Day Five

Day Three

A Home­com­ing of a Dif­fer­ent Sort.

Just as the younger sons flee­ing to the far coun­try serves to show how poorly he regarded his father, so this one’s being out in the field is a fit­ting metaphor for where he stood in terms with his own fam­ily. Both sons were far away from the father. In the end they both came home – but would totally dif­fer­ent atti­tudes and two very dif­fer­ent perceptions.

Read .

How would you describe your own prox­im­ity to the father?
______ I am in a far coun­try.
______ I look close, but my heart is far away.
______ I’ve been far, but I’m headed home.
______ I’m close and intend to stay there.

As the elder son approached the house, “he heard music and danc­ing” (). This was typ­i­cal at wed­ding feast and other fes­tive occa­sions. The smell of roasted meat would also per­me­ate the air. The elder son would eas­ily detect all the signs of a great cel­e­bra­tion in the air. He was sur­prised and under­stand­ably curi­ous. What could this pos­si­bly mean?

Of course there was no rea­son what­so­ever for him to make any neg­a­tive assump­tions. Any­one com­ing upon a scene like this ought to meet it with the high­est expec­ta­tions and an eager heart. All the music and danc­ing made it per­fectly obvi­ous, after all, that he was walk­ing into a cel­e­bra­tion, not a funeral. He ought to have been excited to learn what spec­tac­u­larly good news could pos­si­bly have unleashed an unplanned cel­e­bra­tion of this mag­ni­tude. You would think he would run to the noise and see it for himself.

But not so. The young man was clearly in a glass-half-empty kind of mood. He was sus­pi­cious. (Legal­ist or almost always sus­pi­cious, par­tic­u­larly when they ecounter joy­ful peo­ple.) He was stunned, con­fused, and clearly less than pleased to see such a party in full swing at his house but with­out his knowl­edge. After all, when he went out to the field that morn­ing, it was a day like any other day. He had now come home at a late hour, and with no warn­ing what­so­ever, he arrived to find the biggest cel­e­bra­tion he has ever wit­nessed, already under way, and under his own roof.

The elder brother’s sur­prise is per­fectly under­stand­able; his extreme indig­na­tion is not so eas­ily excused. His reac­tion sug­gest that he assumed from the get-go that what­ever news had pro­voked such deliri­ous joy on the part of his father was going to be some­thing he would resent. So “he called one of the ser­vants and ask what these things men” (v. 26).

Read .

In your opin­ion, why can’t legal­ist ever truly rejoice?


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And he said to them, “Well did Isa­iah proph­esy of you hyp­ocrites, as it is written,

“‘This peo­ple hon­ors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and danc­ing. (ESV)

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is writ­ten, “Cursed be every­one who does not abide by all things writ­ten in the Book of the Law, and do them.” (ESV)

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