I HATE goodbyes. I think they’re a part of the curse/fall 🙁 But, as my older sister kept saying yesterday, it makes heaven a lot more exciting to think about – no more goodbyes. Amen and amen. Side note – doesn’t Rina look so stinkin’ cute in her hat and bathing suit! She actually didn’t mind the water once she had gotten semi use to it. She didn’t want to stay in too long but she played just fine for awhile.
So, after the father gives an amazing display of extravagant love for his prodigal son he then orders a party. It’s time to celebrate! But, let me ask this – who was the party for? I’ve always assumed it was for the returning son, to celebrate his return. But was it?
Luke places the parable of the prodigal in a context with two other parables. Looking at all three parables together gives interesting clues about how to understand them. In the first parable a shepherd loses a sheep, he goes out and finds the sheep then throws a party. In the second parable a woman loses a coin, she searches her entire house until she finds it then she throws a party. Now, in the first two parables – who was the party for? Was the party for the sheep that had gotten itself lost or the coin that had been dropped? Or, was the party to celebrate the efforts of the shepherd in finding his sheep and the woman in the fact that she found a lost coin?
(Apparently celebrations for both of these reasons did really occur. In a little village ANY reason for a celebration was enough to bring friends together. Anyone’s good was celebrated by all.)
If in the first two parables the shepherd and the woman were the ones being celebrated, doesn’t it follow that in the third parable it would be the same? Especially understanding the amazing display of love the father had just shown. Maybe the party isn’t for the returning son. Maybe instead the party is for the father, to celebrate his enormous efforts in bringing about true reconciliation with his son.
Revelation talks about a wedding feast when the Bride of Christ will finally have arrived home. I’ve always assumed that the bride will be the guest of honor but I don’t think so anymore. I think the party in heaven will be about us only secondarily. I think the guest of honor will be the Bridegroom as the saints and angels rejoice together reveling in all that God did to redeem His bride, to save us and reconcile us to Himself. The party is for the Father.
But wait, didn’t Jesus start out the parable by stating “a man had two sons?” What about the eldest? Where is he in all this? Stay tuned….