“Then drew near unto Him all the pubilcans and sinners for to hear Him.”
Jesus was approached by the unwanted and discarded of society because they had an earnest desire to hear Him. There is no further explanation given about this group but two things are certain; they are loathsome and despot according to the world and they have an ear to hear the truth.
This gathering offended the beautiful people of the social scene and they murmured. They did not come unto Jesus and request an explanation because they were blameless. They did not soil themselves with the sinners because they were the righteous and for one to come, preaching the kingdom of God and consorting with commoners, was irreconcilable to their concept of holiness.
Therefore Jesus sets for a parable for the publicans, the sinners and the Pharisees and Scribes to hear. He did not set forth three parables, one of the sheep, one of the coin and one of the son, but He set for a parable, therefore all elements speak to the same truth. His words are meant for judgment against the wicked and comfort to the weak and weary travelers. He begins by asking, “What man of you”. This appeals to the logic and pride of the natural man in Adam. To the righteous the idea of not showing forth mercy and compassion for one gone out of the way would tarnish their brilliant armor. To those who were poor and heavy laden the idea of having a possession of sheep and being a person of wealth was only a dream. But notice the question. Jesus not only asks if one would leave and search for that which was lost but also asks if they would leave the 99 in the wilderness. Why would any good shepherd leave his flock, unattended and vulnerable, in the wilderness? Jesus, The Good Shepherd, did not. He led His sheep to a pasture wherein was a feast of fat things upon His Holy hill. He led them beside the still waters and made them to lie down in green pastures. So even with the attempt to justify themselves by asserting that they would leave the 99 and search for the one, the Pharisees condemn themselves. Notice also that after the one who was lost had been found, by the shepherd and not by any other means, there was rejoicing for the one but nothing more is said about the 99 left in the wilderness. The rejoicing is not in this world amongst the indigenous inhabitants of the land but, in the tabernacle of the Shepherd, in the presence of those He loves ('philos’ – friends) and those of the same country (‘geiton’ – neighbor) He carries the lost sheep, the sinner unto who repentance was given. He left the 99 in the wilderness, He went forth to seek and to save that which was lost, He found that which was lost and gave repentance to His chosen one and there was rejoicing in heaven.
Anyone who had 10 pieces of silver was to be considered a person of wealth and to set aside nine of those ten pieces to look for one is not financially sound. But when it is found again nothing is said about the nine that were left nor about the fact of the maintaining of the fiscal status. Rather, again, she who had lost the treasure of great price, worth more than the other nine combined, called Her loved ones and those of the same country and in the presence of the angels in heaven, Mother Jerusalem rejoices over the sinner who has been granted repentance.
Now to this renegade son. He first claimed the right of sonship and demanded the portion that was allotted to him. He was the younger of the two sons and had no right in the inheritance of the first-born so he would take his leave and fulfill his lusts and desires in a far country. He did not vanish from existence or drop off the face of the earth into the deepest darkest recesses of the world, he went to a ‘remote place with limitations’. His course was not left for him to find out or to develop for it is not in any man to direct his steps, even though he has goals and plans in his mind. This younger son was dispatched on a journey with sufficient supplies and appetites to lead him to the point where he desired to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs were eating, but no man would give it to him.
“And when he came to himself.” At this low point in his journey he did not become a child, he was not reborn to become a son and he was not regenerated. He knew he was a son, though not worthy, he knew the dwelling place of his father and he knew the state of affairs of that abode and repentance was given him for all that he had experienced and done. He knew that he had failed to measure up to the standard of the holiness of his father and that he no longer had any right to stand before his presence but, if his father would have him, he could work for him. When it was revealed to him that the things of this world could not satisfy the desires of his soul nor comfort his spirit, he that was lost repented and lived again. He became dead (separated) when he partook of flesh and blood but in the fullness of time, repentance was given to him.
This is the work of the Spirit of God. Nothing any man could think, speak, do or write could bring on this revelation for only the Spirit of God can, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and shew My people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins” (Is. 58:1). Even though there were those who sought the Lord daily and followed after the ordinances and delighted in approaching God, they did not know their sin nor confess it before the throne of Jehovah. Saul of Tarsus was such an one. He called himself blameless according to the righteousness of the law but when the Spirit revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus, the commandments rose up and slew him for he knew his sin. This young man could not come to his father and say ‘have pity on me thy son’ for the knowledge of his sin convinced him that he was not worthy (of no value) to be his son. He would work for a wage and earn his keep in attempt to pay his worth.
But his father, having great telescopic lenses in his glasses and having received an advance telegraph, telephone call and e-mail of the sons impending return, went out to meet him as he came down the walkway to the house. NO. The father saw him from a great way off, went to him and fell on his filthy, vile, disgusting and offensively odious neck and kissed him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from Him, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment” (Zech. 3:4). Then man who could not afford to eat did not have the resources to stop off and buy new clothes or to clean himself up. Had he these abilities, he would not have been ready to return to his father’s house. He had to be brought to the lowest place he could go before he could return ‘safe and sound’. He had to suffer these things to be made perfect (complete) in all that he suffered. He, being in the Father, had to be dead to hear the voice of the Spirit before He could live again. Notice the father did not say that he was dead and now alive, he said, “this My Son was dead and lives again”. He was resurrected!!!!
The elder son left the father’s house also. He went into the field just as did Cain, Ishmael and Esau. This was his habitation for what business does the elder son of a wealthy man have tending to the land (Gk. – ‘agro’ as a farmer). He was a man of the field who despised his birthright and would not go back. Even though the father came to him and pleaded with him in kindness and affection, yet would he not go in. He asserted himself to the father by proclaiming his right, “I served thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandments” in attempt to gain honour and wealth for he and his friends. He stands accusing his brother of unlawful consortion and desertion and rejecting the inheritance of his father’s house, departs never to be heard from again. The banquet had been prepared, the guests had been bid to come but they would not.
There is not a one of us who, after Adam, would associate ourselves with the publicans and the sinners. We all would like to think that we have some bit of worth or redeeming quality and we lust after that feeling and sensation daily. But the child of grace came forth from the Father and became a partaker of the flesh and blood and the sin of Adam. Dwelling in the prepared earthen vessel, they thrive after the fare of this world until such time as it pleases the Father to reveal Himself in them and they which were lost are found and they which were dead are alive again. Then in the light of His glory, confess unto Him that they have sinned against the habitation of God and in His presence and are not worthy to be called ‘sons’ of God. This is when they are converted and are made to see the eternal love of the Father for His children. They were ALWAYS His children, He never leaves them in the wilderness or abandons and nothing they could ever do could ever separate them from that eternal unchangeable love. They cannot loose their birth-right any more than the elder son could regain that which he despises.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 1, 2012