Have you ever misplaced your car keys? My brother, Steve, was notorious for setting his keys down somewhere in the house and forgetting where he put them. We would tease him about it all the time. It got so bad that one year we gave him a key ring that was clap activated. You could clap your hands and it would start beeping. I don’t know if he is any better about losing his keys today, but he gave us many laughs when we were teenagers.
Luke 15 is made up of three parables about things being lost. Now, when Jesus tells things three times, He is driving home His point and really wants us to get it. There’s the parable of the lost sheep [vs. 1-7], the parable of the lost coin [vs. 8-10] and the parable of the lost son [vs. 11-32].
In the parable of the lost son, we learn the father has two sons. One son takes his inheritance and goes out partying and living it up. If you can’t relate to that son, then you probably relate to the other who stays home and works diligently for his father. When the lost son comes home, he points out he isn’t worthy of being called a son again [vs. 21]. The father will hear nothing of it. He restores his son to his rightful position as son of the master of the household.
The older son comes in from the field and is mad because there is a celebration for his partying brother [vs. 28-30]. He never felt like he could take a calf and celebrate with his friends. Both of these sons have the same problem- identity. It is easy to see how the lost son forgets who he is and who he belongs to; we get that. The older brother also has no idea who he is. In the Jewish culture, the son would have full access to everything that belongs to the father, but he felt he couldn’t even have a calf to celebrate with his friends. Everything his father has is at his disposal at all times, yet he doesn’t understand nor take advantage of it. He doesn’t have to work to earn that right. It is his simply because he is a son.
Which son do you relate to most easily? Are you someone who tried to do things your own way and failed miserably and came back to God? Or are you the faithful child who has been about your Father’s business? Either way, you may lack a clear understanding of who you are in Christ Jesus. You are a child of God [John 1:12]. In 2 Corinthians 6:18 we are called sons and daughters of the Most High God. Romans 8:17 says “Now if we are children, then we are heirs– heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Clearly, we have access to all of God Christ had access to when He walked the earth.
Why do we act so helpless? Why do we walk in defeat? Why do we ring our hands in despair? We are sons and daughters of the Most High God. It’s time we started living like it!