This Sunday at Hill Country Church we are beginning a new teaching series on the story Jesus told which is commonly referred to as “The Prodigal Son.” The story enjoys prominence among both Christian and secular artists. From Keith Green to The Rolling Stones, from Iron Maiden to U2, the story of the lost son has struck emotional chords in wayward hearts since it’s first telling 2000 years ago. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear sayings such as, “The prodigal returns” in the everyday conversations of people of all walks of life. The story is no doubt popular due to it’s highly relevant themes of reckless living and radical forgiveness. We have discovered, however that the story, like all of scripture is really more about the prodigal Father, rather than the prodigal son. The younger son was indeed prodigal (i.e. lavish, extravagant, extreme, reckless). His portrayal in the story is an accurate portrait of humanity, given all things to enjoy by our father, and then lavishly (prodigally) squandering it on a lifestyle of sin. The story can be found in Luke 15, the context of which is Jesus speaking out against the Pharisee’s (characterized in the story by the older brother) contempt for his mercy toward sinners. The only thing in the story greater than the younger son’s extravagant sins is the father’s extravagant love and forgiveness and compassion:
“While he (the prodigal son) was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:20-24 (ESV)
Note the extravagant, almost reckless love of the father toward his son who had been a living disgrace. While the older brother grumbles in the background about the father being so merciful to a sinner such as his younger brother, the father is overjoyed at his lost son’s return and exclaims “We had to celebrate!” This story of prodigal love is a wonderful picture of our great God and Savior who looks upon his enemies with compassion, and when we are ready to throw ourselves at his feet begging to be made one of the servants, he lifts up our heads, puts the royal robe around our shoulders, and says “Come, eat and be merry. I’m glad you’re home, son.” The story portrays radically the relentless grace, the overwhelming kindness, the almost reckless love of God toward sinners such as we. It is a love that says I’ll die for your sins to make you right with God! How great is this love indeed!
The following is my attempt at crafting a song that goes with the theme of this story, and compliments it’s preaching. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. We will be doing this song every Sunday during the teaching series, so suggestions regarding improvements are always welcome.
The Prodigal King
(Lk. 15:11-32; 1 Jn. 3:1; Rom. 8:32; Eph. 2:1-7)Verse 1 In a great far country I’ve found myself again I’ve spent your grace on extravagance and sin Am I too far gone to ever start again? I’m coming home to forgiveness without end Verse 2 You saw me coming making my way home I was so unworthy of being called your son But you came running calling me your own What kind of love can for my sins atone? Chorus Your amazing love Your astounding grace Your loving-kindness Your joy displayed Savior your love is greater than all my sin Your abundant mercy applied to me You gave your life Unsparingly You humbled yourself for all the world to see Such is the love of the prodigal King Verse 3 How great is this love you’ve lavished on our hearts That we should be called daughters and sons of God Once we were dead and drifting about as lost Now we’re saved and redeemed by the mercy your cross Bridge What kind of God so forgives? What kind of love covers sin?
© Copyright 2009 Christopher N. Gates (w/lyrical contributions by Joseph Hansen)