SCRIPTURE: Luke 15: Verse 11
In the parable of the Lost Son, the narrative illustrates that a man had two sons. The younger son became tired of living under his father’s rules and regulations. He wanted to be independent so he told his father: “Give me my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.”
The father yielded to his son’s request and divided the wealth between his two sons.
Not many days after, the younger son packed all his belongings and journeyed to a far country where nobody knew him. He went beyond the reach of interference from home and his father. He went to a distant land where there were no communication and no fellowship with his father.
(In today’s culture, going to a far country may be an apartment in the same building of the home; the next building across the street of the home; or a block from the home.)
In this regard, a “Far Country” is any place outside the control of the home, going outside the fold of the father and going astray.
In this strange land, the young man wasted all his money on wild and riotous living. When his money ran out a great famine arose and his false friends disappeared. He was starving and happy to do anything to stay alive.
As a Jew, he sank to the lowest and vilest employment in working as a swineherd. The Jewish law prohibits the use of swine’s flesh because it is unclean, but the young man was willing to be degraded in order to survive.
While on the job he greedily ate the husks from the swine’s food. No man gave him anything. He had reached the lowest depth in his life. He was perishing; no one should him any pity; he was alone in the world and ready to commit suicide.
The “hog pen” experience was the turning point in his life: “He came to his senses.” He was now able to see the true picture of the home he had left. He did not appreciate and know all of the good things of the home when he left. Before, he saw the home as bondage, with no freedom. Now empty, broke, desolate, perishing, starving, he sees the home with all the peace, abundance, freedom and dignity filled his visions.
“I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him, Father I have sinned against heaven and before thee.”
The relationship between father and son still existed, but now he wanted to be a servant, the lowest place in the home and to do the meanest work. Before, it was anywhere, any place rather than home, but the lost son came to himself and headed home as a converted man.
His father accepted him just as he was: filthy, barefooted and emaciated. The father rejoiced; gave his son a kiss as a token of love, friendship, royalty and not slavery; shoes; a ring to show authority; food and a feast that saved his son from death to life.