(By Ricky Scaparo) In Luke Chapter Fifteen there is a very familiar story most of us are pretty acquainted with, and I would like to dig a bit deeper into this story today and bring out some insights that I believe are beneficial to you and I and our walk with the Lord. I believe there is some prophetic layers in this story that can unlock revelation on dealing with believers who have backslidden in their walk with the Lord. Let’s begin with the story:
Luke 15: 11-32 – Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’” — Ok here is our foundation and so let’s dig deeper into this story by breaking down some key points.
1- Both Sons had an inheritance given to them by their Father. When you and I come to the Lord, we are given an inheritance by our Father and have 24/7 access to the throne room of heaven by the Blood of Jesus. Many people in their walk with the Lord begin to allow their relationship with the Father to grow cold, and they take their eyes off the Face of God and turn to the Hand of God. They want the blessings of the Hand but not the intimacy of the heart. The youngest son turned his back on the Father and entered a lifestyle of prodigal living.
Acts 26:17-19 – I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
Ephesians 1:10-12 – that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Colossians 1:12 – giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
2 – Famine will always result in desperate measures– The Bible tells us that the younger brother had spent all he had in his prodigal living, and then he was met with a severe famine in the land resulting in him being in want. The combination of no more money and no more resources resulted in the younger brother joining himself to a citizen of that country and feeding swine which was considered unclean to a Jew, Even to the point of eating from the table of pigs. I want to encourage someone who has had family members, friends or co-workers that once had a powerful relationship with the Father but through circumstances or time they eventually turned from the Father and turned to a lifestyle of “Prodigal Living”. Perhaps their back in the bars, the clubs, prostitution, drugs, homosexuality or whatever spread the enemy ha laid out for them. Here is where patience and endurance must come. We must continue to pray and intercede for them regardless of how bad it looks. Why? Because their famine will come! The inheritance will dry up! The Money will end, and you would be surprised the revelation that will come to people when they hit rock bottom. The Bible tells us that it took this man to lose it all before he began to look up again. The Bible tells us his reaction.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ 20 “And he arose and came to his father.
3- The Father was already waiting with arms wide open! – I love this next part of the story. The Bible tell us that when he was still a great way off, his Father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. This is the Love of God that our Heavenly Father has towards his children. Regardless of what you have done or where you have been, he is waiting for you with arms wide open! While we were yet sinners, Christ loved us and gave himself for us. The religious will mark off the backslider, but the Father is waiting for them to come to their senses. Remember friend we need to ready and waiting for these prodigals when they come running back and they will in Jesus name!
4- The Father brings out the Robe, The Ring, and the Sandals – The next thing that happens is amazing in my opinion. the Word of God tells us that: 22 The father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. There are four things that take place that are significant in this passage. The Father brings out the Robe, The Ring, The Sandals and the Fatted Calf.
First off the Robe was placed on him which signified his sonship being restored. Religion will tell you that once you fall you’re out! You lose your inheritance, Your position, and your sonship. However, this passage tells me different. The Father placed the best robe on his lost son in the presence of everyone to signify that his sonship was not lost but indeed restored. Se we are clothed in HIS righteousness not our own. One example of this is from the Book of Zechariah Chapter three where Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Angel of the Lord and heard a voice, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him, He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him.
Next, the ring was placed on his hand which represented a symbol of authority. One example of this was when Pharaoh removed his own signet ring and put it on Joseph’s hand when installing him into office in Egypt (Genesis 41:42). The enemy would love to convince you and me that when we mess up and when we fall that we lose our authority as a son and daughter of the most high. The problem is when Lucifer fell there was no Grace or redemption for him, but you and I are under the New Covenant and the Blood Of Jesus! We don’t use Grace as a license to Sin but thank God it is a safety net that can keep us from the flames if we are willing to repent and turn back to the Father.
Then we have the sandals brought out and placed on his feet. This one is interesting being that it appears that the prodigal son returned home without his shoes which were a result of his prodigal living. Biblically speaking only servants and slaves went barefoot in the timeline that this was written. Therefore, when the Father had shoes brought out and put on the Prodigal’s feet, he was, in essence, signifying that the Prodigal son was not to be treated as a servant or a slave but as a son with all entitlements. This son was being restored. His steps were being re-established in the Kingdom.
Lastly, the Bible tells us that the Father brought out the Fatted Calf and celebrated the restoration of his youngest son who was once lost but now is found. Here is where it gets interesting. Check out the response of the older brother at the news of his younger brother being restored and a celebration that has been thrown from the father as a result:
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ 28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
How is it that we see other Christians refuse to help restore their brothers and sisters when they have fallen? Did you know that in the Army when a brother has been wounded the others will risk their lives to save their brother in arms from being finished off by the Adversary? However in the Church when a brother or sister falls into some type of sin, or they have backslid in their walk that other believers many times will just write them off and even kick them when their down! The book of Galations instructs you and me to do the following when we see a fellow believer that has fallen.
Galatians 6:1 – Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
The next thing that ‘s interesting is that the bible points out that when the Older Brother heard the sound of music and celebration from afar off he became angry. I have noticed many times critics will mock praise and worship in churches and actually become modern day Pharisees in regards to their traditional mindset of what type of music should be allowed, how loud it should be, what style and the list goes on. Remeber David danced before the Lord with all his might and looked like a fool to many and even his wife, but Lord honored the heart of worship that was being demonstrated. When I see a brother or sister with a radical praise and worship I can usually find a person with a radical testimony. He who has been forgiven much will love much. I don’t know about you but I know what the Lord brought me out of and I know why I have a praise like I do. Don’t be the older brother and judge by the sound and appearance of something without knowing the heart and motive behind it first. Even the Bible says that all of Heaven with the Angels rejoice over one sinner coming to the Kingdom!