Are you a rebel? Do you consider yourself rebellious? Could you have starred alongside James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood in the 1955 melodrama film, “Rebel Without a Cause”? Throughout life we all at times oppose or resist family, friends, authority, tradition, the establishment, and God, yes, even God.
In the 15th chapter of Luke, Jesus tells a story of a rebellious son and his loving father’s response. This well-known story is often called the Prodigal Son. The word prodigal can be defined as spending or using resources freely and recklessly. Think of the clothing and jewelry worn by celebs as they walk the red carpet.
The story begins by telling us that a man had two sons and the younger son asked his father for his portion of the father’s estate. By tradition the younger son would get 1/3 upon the father’s death. For some reason the father acquiesced and gave this boy his portion. The story continues with this son going to a distant country and squandering his new found wealth in wild living. We are then told he hit rock bottom and soon found himself feeding the pigs; something he never dreamed he could, or would, ever do. Not only was this an unfavorable occupation but according to Jewish law, pigs were “unclean” animals (see Lev. 11:7). He spirals down to the point that he is also desiring to eat the pods of the carob tree; the very food that the pigs eat.
Have you ever found yourself in the pig pen?
At some point this young man came to his senses and decided to return home, humbled and broken, damaged and disgraced. When the father saw his son in the distance, we read this – “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” In the age in which this story takes place, no well-respected man would be see running in public. The story ends with the son admitting his rebellion and the father throwing a big party for his son.
Every one of us can see ourselves somewhere in this story. We are told in Scripture that all have sinned and that we all fall short of what God desires of us (see Romans 3:23). At some point, to one degree or another, we all rebel against God. We step outside of God’s good and perfect will and do things our way.
While prodigal can mean wasteful, it also means extravagant, unrestrained, lavish. The story we just looked at is a story about our rebellion against God, but more so, it is about extravagance of our Heavenly Father when we step back into His will.
Today are you willing to repent and reverse your direction, either for the first time or even the umpteenth time? When we do so, God promises that He will be extravagant in His love, in His forgiveness, in His grace, and in His mercy.
So we ask you again- Are you a rebel?
New Bern, North Carolina