Isaiah 12:1-31More on the Prodigal Son
1In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. 2Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” 3With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
The prophetic vision that affirmed principles of absolute justice and morality emerged in the Jerusalem of the First Temple period (1006-586 BCE). This, together with the traditions related to the genesis of the three monotheistic faiths, transformed Jerusalem into a major city in the history of human civilization. The prophets emphasized the concept of historical linearity, which maintains that the flawed present, with its rampant suffering and injustice, will ultimately undergo a radical metamorphosis, and that finally absolute justice, peace, harmony, and spiritual awareness will prevail. It was in Jerusalem that people first lifted their eyes toward a more hopeful future.
Isaiah was a Prophet of ancient Israel after whom the biblical book of Isaiah is named. He is believed to have written only some of the book’s first 39 chapters; the rest are by one or more unknown authors. Isaiah’s call to prophesy came c. 742 BC, when Assyria was beginning the westward expansion that later overran Israel. A contemporary of Amos, Isaiah denounced economic and social injustice among the Israelites and urged them to obey the Law or risk cancellation of God’s covenant. He correctly predicted the destruction of Samaria, or northern Israel, in 722 BC, and he declared the Assyrians to be the instrument of God’s wrath. The Christian Gospels lean more heavily on the book of Isaiah than on any other prophetic text, and its “swords-into-plowshares” passage has universal appeal.
Biblical Truths and Theology3http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/isa/isa_05.htm
A HYMN OF PRAISE
Because of the salvation God brings them – 12:1-3
- Though once angry, the Lord will be the source of comfort – cf. 2 Co 1:3-4
- God will become their salvation, their strength and song – cf. Ep 6:10; Ph 4:13
- With joy they will draw from the wells of salvation – cf. Jn
Items for Discussion
- What is anger?
- Anger is a basic human emotion that is experienced by all people. Typically triggered by an emotional hurt, anger is usually experienced as an unpleasant feeling that occurs when we think we have been injured, mistreated, opposed in our long-held views, or when we are faced with obstacles that keep us from attaining personal goals. (Definition taken from (http://www.mentalhealth.net/)
- How often do people get angry? How often do you get angry?
- Is any part of anger good? When is it bad?
- Why should a person be concerned if God is angry at them?
- What emotions do you feel when someone who was angry at you is no longer angry?
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Luke was a doctor and it is only logical that medical matters should be stressed. (Luke 4:38; 7:15; 8:55; 14:2; 18:15; 22:50) Luke was not a Jew and directed his message to Greeks, as a Gentile speaking to Gentiles. He writes in an orderly fashion giving careful attention to historical details. Luke stresses events which point to Christ’s humanity and uses the phrase the Son of Man rather than the term Son of God. He places more space and emphasis on the birth of Christ than any other writer. There is a special emphasis on individuals and prayer, the sick, women, poverty and wealth. The compassion of the Son of Man is displayed everywhere.
As the older brother of the prodigal son returns from his work in the field, he hears the sounds of the celebration inside the house and, upon inquiring, is told their significance: “Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf” (15:27). The older son is far from pleased with this information about his father’s party for his younger brother. In fact, “he was angry and would not go in” (15:28). As his subsequent words make plain, he is not really angry with his brother, but with his father for giving him such a lavish welcome. In short, he does not share the joy that his father feels on this occasion.
The older brother thus represents a type of Christian whose attitude toward a wayward Christian brother is far less charitable than is that of God, his heavenly Father. The successors of the older brother in this parable have been numerous in the history of the church. Let us look at his attitude more carefully.
The father of this angry brother is gracious enough to come out to talk to him, and his dad “pleaded with him” to join in the celebration (15:28). Although he might well have ordered his son into the party, that would have been foreign to the whole tenor of the occasion. God Himself, of course, has no intention of commanding us to feel joy for the restoration of a wayward Christian brother, since true joy must necessarily be spontaneous. Needless to say, such joy must always spring from the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
Items for Discussion
- Does the brother have a good argument to make?
- Have you ever felt the same way?
- Do you think that maybe the father was being too generous to his prodigal son?
- While it is easy to say the brother should have been forgiving to his brother, why was forgiveness such a hard thing to do?
- How do we do similar things to people today?
- Where in our church are we like the brother?
- 1More on the Prodigal Son