Lesson 19 | Sabbath, 4 November 2023
“And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.” Luke 15:11, 12.
“The youth acknowledges no obligation to his father, and expresses no gratitude; yet he claims the privilege of a child in sharing his father’s goods. The inheritance that would fall to him at his father’s death he de- sires to receive now. He is bent on present enjoyment, and cares not for the future.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 199.
1.Since when have there been prodigal sons and daughters? What two evils does God see multiplying in the earth?
Isaiah 1:2, 3. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
Ecclesiastes 7:29. Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
Jeremiah 2:13. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
“What a picture here of the sinner’s state! Although surrounded with the blessings of His love, there is nothing that the sinner, bent on self-indulgence and sinful pleasure, desires so much as separation from God. Like the ungrateful son, he claims the good things of God as his by right. He takes them as a matter of course, and makes no return of gratitude, renders no service of love. As Cain went out from the presence of the Lord to seek his home; as the prodigal wandered into the ‘far country,’ so do sinners seek happiness in forgetfulness of God. Romans 1:28. –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 200.
2.What did the younger brother waste? What did he do while he was away from his father?
Luke 15:11-13. And he said, A cer- tain man had two sons: 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13And 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.
“Having obtained his patrimony, he goes into ‘a far country,’ away from his father’s home. With money in plenty, and liberty to do as he likes, he flatters himself that the desire of his heart is reached. There is no one to say, Do not do this, for it will be an injury to yourself; or, Do this, because it is right. Evil companions help him to plunge ever deeper into sin, and he wastes his ‘substance with riotous living.’” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 199.
3.What was the result of the prodigal son’s doings? What does Satan do to the believer who leaves his heavenly Father?
Luke 15:14-16. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
2 Peter 2:18, 19. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wanton- ness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is over- come, of the same is he brought in bondage.
Proverbs 1:10. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
“This younger son had become weary of the restraint of his father’s house. He thought that his liberty was restricted. His father’s love and care for him were misinterpreted, and he determined to follow the dictates of his own inclination.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 198.
“HE CAME TO HIMSELF”
4.Seeing the huge contrast between having and not having, what thought came to the mind of the prodigal son in the parable? What was his father’s reaction when he saw his son nearing home?
Luke 15:17-24. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
“The love of God still yearns over the one who has chosen to separate from Him, and He sets in operation influences to bring him back to the Father’s house. The prodigal son in his wretchedness ‘came to himself.’ The deceptive power that Satan had exercised over him was broken. He saw that his suffering was the result of his own folly, and he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father.’ Miserable as he was, the prodigal found hope in the conviction of his father’s love. It was that love which was drawing him toward home. So, it is the assurance of God’s love that constrains the sinner to return to God.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 202.
FEELINGS OF THE OLDEST SON
5.How did the older brother react to his brother’s return? What do Christians need to know and understand?
Luke 15:25-28. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
Galatians 6:1, 3. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thy- self, lest thou also be tempted…. 3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
James 5:20. Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
“Thus far in the Saviour’s parable there is no discordant note to jar the harmony of the scene of joy; but now Christ introduces another element. When the prodigal came home, the elder son ‘was in the field; and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in.’ This elder brother has not been sharing in his father’s anxiety and watching for the one that was lost. He shares not, therefore, in the father’s joy at the wanderer’s return. The sounds of rejoicing kindle no gladness in his heart. He inquires of a servant the reason of the festivity, and the answer excites his jealousy. He will not go in to welcome his lost brother. The favor shown the prodigal he regards as an insult to himself.”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 207.
6.How did the elder brother find fault with his father’s delight in his brother’s return? What did he feel and claim about his own life and actions? What did Christ say about Jewish traditions as opposed to the love that comes from the heart?
Luke 15:29-31. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
Matthew 15:8. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
“When the father comes out to remonstrate with him, the pride and malignity of his nature are revealed. He dwells upon his own life in his father’s house as a round of unrequited service, and then places in mean contrast the favor shown to the son just returned. He makes it plain that his own service has been that of a servant rather than a son. When he should have found an abiding joy in his father’s presence, his mind has rested upon the profit to accrue from his circumspect life. His words show that it is for this he has foregone the pleasures of sin. Now if this brother is to share in the father’s gifts, the elder son counts that he himself has been wronged. He grudges his brother the favor shown him. He plainly shows that had he been in the father’s place, he would not have received the prodigal. He does not even acknowledge him as a brother, but coldly speaks of him as ‘thy son.’” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 207.
BUILDING BRIDGES FOR SALVATION
7.What two classes of people did the two brothers in the parable represent? What command did Jesus give to His first disciples as well as to faithful Adventists at the end of time?
Luke 15:32. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Matthew 10:5-7. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Isaiah 58:1, 12. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins…. 12And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
“By the elder son were represented the unrepenting Jews of Christ’s day, and also the Pharisees in every age, who look with contempt upon those whom they regard as publicans and sinners. Because they themselves have not gone to great excesses in vice, they are filled with self-righteous- ness. Christ met these cavilers on their own ground. Like the elder son in the parable, they had enjoyed special privileges from God. They claimed to be sons in God’s house, but they had the spirit of the hireling. They were working, not from love, but from hope of reward. In their eyes, God was an exacting taskmaster. They saw Christ inviting publicans and sinners to receive freely the gift of His grace–the gift which the rabbis hoped to secure only by toil and penance–and they were offended. The prodigal’s return, which filled the Father’s heart with joy, only stirred them to jealousy.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 209.
For Additional Study
“This is the service that God has chosen, ‘to loose the bands of wicked- ness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke,… and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.’ Isaiah 58:6, 7. When you see yourselves as sinners saved only by the love of your heavenly Father, you will have tender pity for others who are suffering in sin. You will no longer meet misery and repentance with jealousy and censure. When the ice of selfishnessis melted from your hearts, you will be in sympathy with God, and will share His joy in the saving of the lost.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 210.