First Lost Son (and the Kiss of God)

The purpose of the prodigal son was to blow out the existing paradigms, the existing categories, human beings had for their understanding of their relationship with God. Some people have what you might call a moralistic view of life. The moralistic view of life says, “The problem with the world is not me; it’s them, those immoral types.” Then you have another kind of person. The other kind of worldview is what we could call a relativistic view of life. The relativistic people are the ones who say, “The problem with the world isn’t me; it’s them, those condemning types.” Generally, the relativistic types, the younger brother types, tend to move. They tend to go away from their hometown, while the moralistic types tend to stay where they were raised and they live very “good” lives. 

Jesus says, “Look at these two brothers. Look carefully. They are both lost. They are both alienated from the father’s heart.” In both cases, they will not come in and the father has to come out to bring them in. Jesus Christ lays bare the flaws of both of these paradigms. Jesus is talking about an experience of God – the kiss of the Father, the love of the Father. Let’s look at the three things have to happen: You have to come to your senses; You need a love that’s prior to your repentance; You need an elder brother who will foot your bill.

This sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on January 18, 1998. Series “The Prodigal Son and the Elder Brother”. Scripture: Luke 15:11-24.

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