Episode 2 (Exposé 10): The Younger Brother
Anchor Lady: We are back again and this is Exposé where we turn the light on Christ. I’m the Anchor Lady and with me as always is—
Peter: My name is Peter. Welcome again unto Exposé.
Anchor Lady: I’m aware that some new people are joining us for this episode. Would you like to say a big welcome to people who are watching all over the world?
Peter: Yes. For those who were with us last Saturday, welcome back again; and for those who are joining us today for the very first time, we also welcome you as well. Hopefully, we’ll have a very great time today. God bless you.
Anchor Lady: Amen. Things got very interesting last week when we started with that controversial topic: ‘The Prodigal Father’. I’m sure some people are still trying to wrap their heads round the topic. Would you like to explain further for those who missed it and for those who were there.
Peter: Yeah. We began this journey last Saturday and we began to look at this particular parable of Jesus. And I hope you know that Jesus in most cases will actually code spiritual mysteries and revelations in parables—we call it ‘using natural stories to illustrate spiritual things’. And for want of giving it a better title, we decided to title it ‘The Prodigal Father’. This parable is not just about the son—I know in the church, we like to place so much emphasis on the younger son, but this parable is not just about the younger son, it’s also about the elder brother and it’s also about the Father. So that’s why we’ve titled it the Prodigal Father.
Anchor Lady: If I remember perfectly well last week, you talked about two audiences and how everybody can be classified under this. Would you like to explain further and take this much higher so that we can dive into this scripture fully.
Peter: Yeah, thank you. You see, to understand every story, we need to get the background or the backdrop of that story. Now, this particular parable of Jesus will not make any sense until we understand the kind of audience that were there when Jesus spoke this parable. And last week, we made a very significant point. What we did say was (that) when Jesus spoke this parable, He had an audience—and the audience, you could clearly see that in Luke chapter 15 from verse 1 to verse 2. We said this last Saturday that there were two audience that were two types of people. Verse 1 talks about the publicans and sinners and verse 2 talks about the Pharisees and the scribes—those were the two types of people who were there when Jesus spoke this parable. And we established a point that in verse 11 when Jesus started this parable in verse 11, it was pretty obvious that He mentioned two types of sons. And by the time we continue today, you would see that the two types of sons in verse 11 were supposed to relate to the two types of people that were listening to Jesus as shown in verse 1 and 2 of Luke chapter 15.
Anchor Lady: So let’s get into it.
Peter: Okay, so we would get into this straightaway. Now, we are going to start from verse 11 where the parable starts. I mean, I’ll read Luke 15 verse 11: “And He said” [that’s talking about Jesus] “A certain man had two sons.” [And verse 12 says] “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me’ and he divided them his living.” Now, if you think about this, what this son has done was according to the law of Moses. If you go to Deuteronomy chapter 23, verse 11 thereabout, it talks about how a man should divide his inheritance among his sons. And the eldest son was supposed to take twice as the other children. In this case, because there were two sons, if the eldest son was supposed to take twice as much as the younger son, it was meant to be divided in the ratio 1:2. Everything was fine with the son’s request but there was a problem—
Anchor Lady: What?
Peter: Yeah, there was a problem with that request. The problem with the request is simply because a man was not supposed to divide his inheritance until he was dead. I mean, you don’t have to share the inheritance of a man when he’s still alive—that’s why people write wills and testaments. Your will and your testament does not go into effect until you die. This young man was asking his father for his portion when the father was still [alive]
Anchor Lady: alive
Peter: Now, what does that mean? He’s simply saying “I don’t care if you die as a father…I don’t even care—I’m not even interested in your being alive as a father; I don’t care about having a relationship with you—I don’t even mind if you are alive or dead—it makes no difference to me. I just want my portion of the inheritance.” Now, you see, because in our context at the moment—we are in the twenty first century—you might not understand the way the father would have understood what the son was saying to him.
Anchor Lady: hmmmm…
Peter: It’s not about what is being said; it’s about what is being heard. What the father would have heard is “You can go and die—I don’t care; you can die as a father. I want you dead!” So this is what the younger son was actually saying to the father. And look at what happens next, and the Bible said “He divided unto them.” Now, don’t forget this. Look at what ‘them’; it means the father divided unto ‘them’—both the younger and the elder—he divided unto them ‘his living’—his living! So, that’s what the father did. Now, if you look at the next verse—that’s verse 13—“and not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country and there wasted his substance with riotous living”. Now, I want you to listen to this: this parable of Jesus was actually meant to show how people live their lives. How many sons do we have in the parable?
Anchor Lady: Two
Peter: Two! Now, this is one way how people live their lives in which you go on your own journey, you discover yourself; self-discovery—that’s the word. I’m not sure if you listened to the news today; you watch the TV; you go on social networking sites; facebook, twitter—what do you see people saying? People saying “you know what, it’s my life; I just want to express myself” or, you see when someone comes out and says “I think I don’t want to follow what people in my family want me to do; I just want to find out what works for me”—
Anchor Lady: Self-expression—
Peter: Self-expression! Self-discovery—this is one way people choose to live their lives.
Anchor Lady: Self-indulgence, really
Peter: Just, if it works for you, if it fits you, just do it. Do it if it feels good—this is one way of life. So what Jesus was actually showing with this parable was to show us one way you can live your life. Self-discovery—just travel on your own journey. Bible said “he went on a journey”—a journey of self-discovery; “I want to discover myself.”
Anchor Lady: Self-actualization
Peter: Self-actualization—“I want to discover that which works for me”—that is what the younger son represent. So it’s not just about the younger son; it’s Jesus using this story to show us one way people can choose to live their lives…and that’s it. So it says “he went on a journey…” [and what does it say?] “and he wasted his” [what?] “his substance” [with what?]
Anchor Lady: riotous living
Peter: That’s living out of control.
Anchor Lady: Reckless living, kind of
Peter: Unregulated living. Living without boundaries. Living without any form of restraint.
Anchor Lady: No restriction
Peter: No restriction. And I think you don’t have to go too far to see this all around in our times. That’s what we say—it’s getting more popular everyday.
Anchor Lady: It’s unrestrained emotions
Peter: Unrestrained emotions. Just do it; if it feels good, do it!
Anchor Lady: It’s your body; it’s your life
Peter: It’s your body; it’s your time; it’s your resources; it’s your money; it’s your opportunity; it’s…it’s yours! Just do it! Now, there’s nothing new under the sun. Jesus was trying to tell us, this is one way people could choose to live their lives. That’s it. That’s what the younger son represents…and we can see that. I mean, now, what happens next in verse 14 you can see that— verse 14, what does it say in verse 14? “And when he has spent ALL…” You see? He didn’t spare anything. He maximised every single resources.
Anchor Lady: He expressed himself fully.
Peter: Full expression! “And when he had spent ALL…” I mean, you see, there are times when I watch the news that I see people…just, I mean, you see people talking about their bodies—they want to change how they look… people want to change their face, change their bodies, change everything… people keep touching every single detail and trying to see if they can derive satisfaction from this or from that and they keep exploring every possibility—gender possibility, sexual expression,
Anchor Lady: Social responsibility; social circles
Peter: Social expression… everywhere, people just want to explore, experimenting with drugs, experimenting with everything, trying to see—is that where satisfaction is? And that’s it. Now, one thing I want you to note is, you see…we have this definition about sin. A Christian will always think that a sinner is someone that is always doing the bad thing—someone that is doing the wrong thing. Don’t forget, that’s correct; that’s true. But the most important thing about this younger brother is about the fact that he rejected the father and he thought he could find satisfaction and contentment in finding full expression and trying to go on his own journey. Now, Bible says in verse 14, “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land and he began to be in want.” Now, this is—this is what it all comes back to—that there is nothing in this world, there is nothing in this dispensation that can completely, ultimately, and forever satisfy. It will always get to a point where it doesn’t provide or satisfy anymore. I think the earlier we know that, the better—there’s nothing in this world; once you dig yourself into it, it’s a matter of time—it can no longer satisfy after some time. The Bible says, “he began to be in want…” You would have thought he had everything…that oh, yeah, everything is already available,
Anchor Lady: So at the end of every expression—
Peter: —there is nothing… You know, the preacher in Ecclesiastes, he said “I tried everything that I could lay my hands on…” [he said] “whatever my eyes can see, I tried out, I tested, I experimented and I still found out that it was vanity upon vanity.” There is nothing in this world… I mean, there’s a curse that came upon creation—Romans chapter 8—it says, “there’s a curse of decay upon creation.” You see, there’s nothing in this world, there’s nothing we look to—no matter what it is, no matter how nice it is, we will always end up being in want; it’s all a matter of time. For some people, it could be that it happens after a day, for some, it’s two days, for some it could be a month, a year or a decade—it’s only a matter of time… you would begin to be in want
Anchor Lady: [in want]
Peter: Now, the question I want to ask is this: think about this…some things that were so very significant or critical to us—we thought, “Oh, if I have this, I will be the most happiest person in this world.” If you think about your life…if you think, “if I could get that, I will be so happy”—
Anchor Lady: But this xxx happiness?
Peter: As soon as you get it, it’s a matter of time; the happiness—what is called ‘the law of diminishing returns’—the happiness will begin to diminish over time as soon as you get it. So not getting it is actually where the happiness is because once you get it, you are in for a very big disappointment. And that’s what Jesus was trying to show humanity from people who want to go on a journey of self-discovery. Jesus is trying to tell humanity, listen, it’s a matter of time. Go ahead on your journey of self-discovery; reject the father’s love—it’s a matter of time before you start to be in want… and that’s just what Jesus was trying to say. “He began to be in want…” It didn’t happen immediately—it was a matter of time. “He began…to be…in want.” And that’s it says right there up to verse 14. And so, we are still on the younger brother…but don’t forget like I did say, this is one way to live life. Not everybody lives this way. I’m not sure; you might be listening to what we are talking about
Anchor Lady: and you say this doesn’t affect you
Peter: …and you are wondering, “this is irrelevant to me”, well, like we said, Jesus mentioned two sons—two ways of living life! This might not be—I mean, you might have a degree of this in your life—a degree of this in you…or by the grace of God, you might not even have this kind of expression at all… but we’re just trying to look at the parable of Jesus
Anchor Lady: exploring two sons…
Peter: exploring two different sons from the same father. So, like we did say, yeah, we’ve read verse 14. Verse 15 says “And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country and he sent him into his field to feed swine
Anchor Lady: That’s talking about the degree of his helplessness
Peter: Yeah. I mean…the level of pollution that has come into his life. You know ‘swines’—what pigs—represents in the Law of Moses? It represents unworthiness—it represents dirt, it represents pollution, contamination. So what Jesus was simply actually showing is, He’s trying to tell us the level of decadence, of pollution or contamination that this young man has actually dipped himself into. When people go on a journey of self-discovery, they will begin to be in want—it’s a matter of time! And before you know it— Now, the citizen of the country, it talks about, basically, it talks about ‘the god of this world’, Satan. I mean, someone who’s got a connection with the system. Now, one thing for sure which I want you to think about is, even though it was a journey of self-discovery, it was a matter of time before he began to connect himself to the system. You see… I see so many young people who say “I want to find out myself…I want to discover what works for me…I don’t want to be under the control of anybody.” There is nothing like ultimate freedom. People think that “You know what? I’m free! I want to be me. No, I don’t want to be under the control of anyone” There is nothing like ultimate freedom. If you are free from one thing, you’ve been bound to another. For example, if I say to you, “I want to be free to eat what I want to eat…I want to be able to eat anything…I don’t want to be controlled or restrained about my eating pattern; it means if I choose to eat what I feel like eating when I want to eat it, I get bound to a bad health. I mean, I get bound to disease or illnesses or sicknesses or whatever they are. There is no ultimate freedom—when you get free from one thing, you get bound to something else. And that’s why Jesus did say that if we are slaves to righteousness, then we are free from sin, but if we are slaves to sin, we are free from righteousness. So this man—this younger son—was on a journey of self-discovery. I want my own thing; I want to run my own life. But what happened? He had to end up joining himself [to what?] to a citizen of [what?] that country. The very thing he was saying—I don’t want to be under anybody; I just want to find my own life—you see? That’s the point! So when people talk about they want to be free ultimately, it’s an illusion. On a journey of self-discovery, you put yourself under the control of another, even though you think it’s a journey of self-discovery.
Anchor Lady: So on the last note, we want to see that the younger son wanted to move away from the control of the father—
Peter: —but he got into the control of someone else [of the system]. There is nothing like a journey of my-own-thing, my-own-life, my-own-power, my-own-money, no control—it’s an illusion. If you run away from being bound unto the father’s love, you will run into being bound unto something else.
Anchor Lady: to the system
Peter: to the system. That’s why it says “he joined himself…” Did you see that? To the citizen of that country.
Anchor Lady: I hope our viewers this week will appreciate the choices that the younger son made and so will be a cautionary tool for us to know that this path of life, we’ve already seen that it’s going to lead to want. So on a final note, what would you like to say to round off today’s session?
Peter: Yeah, what I will like to say to our viewers is…again, don’t forget the fact that we did say that Jesus’ parable that we’ve been looking at was a way of showing humanity the xxx His people to live their lives. You might not probably see yourself in the younger son,
Anchor Lady: [wait for it]
Peter: just wait for it! That’s the point. Jesus’ parable divided all of humanity into two and everyone either falls on this side or the other side. Or, there’s a degree of either sons in some of us; this parable will help us to give us a backdrop of how to walk with the Father and how to receive the love of the father and express it in our daily lives.
Anchor Lady: Thank you for joining us this week. Should you have any comments or any clarifications or questions, kindly feel free to leave it on the page. And so till we see next week, we want to say “Thank you and stay connected to the Father!”
Peter: God bless you
Anchor Lady: Bye