But he answered his father: “All these years I’ve been slaving for you, and never disobeyed you.”
Luke 15, 29
This is the real lost son. The other one had made a trip around the world, squandered wealth and health and ended up with the pigs, but he turned back. He found his way home. And the father rejoiced and took him back, for he saw that the repentance was real.
But the older one was a much bigger problem, for he was not physically absent, but had turned away and isolated himself completely inside. He did his work as if everything depended on it. But he had no idea what his father was really like. He thought work and performance was everything. But love, community and joy count more. How can you live with your father for tens of years, from childhood on, and not know the father at all? Actually, I can’t get my head around this, I can’t understand it.
But when I look at the servants in the Church, I begin to understand: they are proud workers who do everything for the Lord, where achievement counts, piety, where one is not necessarily happy, but proud of one’s holiness and knowledge. They serve a false God, they have formed God as they imagine Him to be. How good that God is different!!
These Pharisees, who know the Bible almost by heart, but have no idea about God, who have no connection to God, these are the prodigal sons. Everything should belong to them, all spiritual authority, all wealth. But they serve and work, receive praise and recognition from people and live on it. The connection to God is only a pious homage, just as the Gentiles offer it to their gods. There is no living relationship with the Heavenly Father.
They even talk about grace and God’s mercy, but they have never experienced these. Real prodigal sons and daughters.
Most of the Pharisees rejected Jesus and rejoiced in the crucifixion. But Paul recognized Jesus and surrendered to Him. He was one of the rulers and yet he converted to Jesus, the only access to God. He threw out all false piety and pride and found in Jesus everything he needed. There is hope for every lost person, however holy he may be!
When you see such pious people, don’t discuss and just don’t listen to their legal interpretations of the Bible. Rather pray for these poor people. There is hope for them, as there was for Paul, that they will find the living Lord. If you are such a man, then turn back to the living LORD. Stop working and doing pious work, seek Him with all your heart and He will be found. Do not give up until you find Him who fills your whole heart with His glorious presence!
Thank You Lord, I have found You! I have not earned it, I had not even looked for You. But You pulled me to You. Thanks for this undeserved mercy!