The Prodigal Son… Revisited

by Lester Young

Remember the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15? Let’s not talk about him. There’s been so much preaching on that boy until…well, never mind. But what I do want to touch on is what actually takes place at the very beginning of that story – specifically, in verse 12. There, as you may recall, the younger son decides he doesn’t want to wait for his father to kick off before he gets his inheritance.

Now some of you might be thinking to yourselves, “Why, that snot-nosed little…” But wait a second before you pass 21st-century judgment on that young man. Take another look and see what his father’s reaction was. The Scriptures provide no verbal rendering of the actual response given, but it portrays absolutely no hint of disapproval. In fact, we see that the father complied with his son’s request straightaway. It seems as though he went down to the bank first thing the next morning and drew up all the necessary paperwork. He wasn’t dead – doesn’t sound like he was even sick – and yet he went ahead and gave his kids their inheritance immediately. Note here that I said kids (with an ‘s’), because verse 12 concludes by saying, “And he divided unto them his living”; that is, both his sons, including the one who hadn’t asked for anything.

Of course, this is where we usually follow the younger son as he dances his way into degeneracy, but I really don’t feel like bashing that kid anymore. We all too often just glance over the words of Luke 15:12 in order to get to the ‘kick-a-man-when-he’s-down’ part, and we fail to perceive just what we’re actually being told.

Certainly, the father in the parable represents our heavenly Father; because the story’s most fundamental purpose is to paint a picture of God’s yearning love and limitless merciful kindness toward us, His children. We can all agree on that, right? Further, we should all also be able to agree that in Christ we have an eternal inheritance, true? True enough. So, we come into that inheritance after we die then, right? Hmm??

Well, no, not quite. Hebrews 9:15 declares that we receive (that’s present tense) our inheritance right now – we already have it! (Sounds a lot like Luke 15:12, doesn’t it?) What typically throws the curve to people is the definition our society has placed on the word ‘eternal’. Eternal does not delineate simply “the sweet by-and-by” after death. No: it actually means “without beginning or end” and “outside of, unbounded and unrestricted by ‘time’.” Of course, there will be some things we’ll receive only after we get that new-and-improved glorified body (Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2) upon our Lord’s return. But keep firmly in mind that we’ve already been given the earnest deposit – the down payment, as it were – of our full inheritance right now, in the person of the Holy Spirit Who resides in us (2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14). And that Spirit is much, much more than sufficient to provide us abundantly with every good thing that pertains to this life – and godliness, as well (John 10:10; Philippians 4:19; 2 Peter 1:3).

Listen, the blessing of Abraham (described in detail in Deuteronomy 28:1-13) has already been bestowed upon us through the Anointed Jesus, and His precious shed blood has ratified God’s Last Will and Testament (Galatians 3:14; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:14-16, 12:24). Any and all dying that needed doing in order to get it to us has been done. We already have access to our inheritance, right here and now. What we really need is to realize it and then start acting like we are who the Lord says we are – His kids, children of The King!


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One Comment to “The Prodigal Son… Revisited”

  1. This is one of my favorite stories in the bible!

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