Wednesday, February 9, 2011


“You should go back to where you belong!” Joe kicked me softly as he uttered those words. I hated it whenever he pushed me. Our crammed dirty one-room apartment was all we could afford at that moment. My male ego would never ever allow me to even think of going back after the failures to get the contract. Nevertheless, the last time our demo disk got thrown out, I did remember the words of my dad, “Hip Hop doesn’t suit you. I heard about the gangs, drugs and all.” But I was more determined, not because of him but another brother of mine. He rolled his eyes at me that day and seemed to say, “You won’t amount to much. Just go.”

We lost count how many rejections of our demo song with the record labels, even those non-reputable ones. And band leader, Joe, was getting frustrated over the group. My dough was almost spent, mainly on getting connected with insiders and on drugs. Desperation led to mistrust between us. Petty issues would grow into huge arguments. At the later stage, I felt they had used me to achieve their own ambitions. Carl and George left to form their own partnership. The last I heard of them was they got a contract with a record label I paid so much money to connect.

The one thing Joe still hung on to me was drugs. He promised me dreams I couldn’t resist, about becoming popular and so on and so forth. That was until he had seen my last account in the bank. No money even for food, let alone drugs. We fought real hard that day after he spoke those words and then he too left. I had to find a way to survive. The urge for drugs was intense. It was all doom and gloom.

The drug pusher told me to get dough from my dad, so that I could go on pursuing my dreams. I bluffed them that I would and they had to trust me by giving me some stuffs first. When they left, I could not help myself but sobbed. The first thing that came to my mind after sobering up was resisting on going back to my father’s house. I had broken the old man’s heart. I didn’t want to shame him in front of his many associates, spoiling his reputation. Perhaps I could ask him to send me to Siberia to work, as far as possible from him. And as far away from that brother of mine as possible!

My former band members didn’t even pick up my frantic calls for help. That night I feared the drug gang would come knocking on my door. They might even kill me for cheating on them. I quickly packed and left in the middle of the night. Every little sound sent shivers up my spine. Just having enough money for the bus back to my hometown, I sat there dejected and completely worn out. Thoughts of playing with my loving dad when I was young came flashing back. Tears flowed freely. Bad son! Bad son! I was in torment.

And then I heard something extraordinary. It was almost unbelievable. The TV on the bus was displaying a photograph of a handsome young man. And then an old man appeared on screen, pleading with such pitiful voice urging the young man to return. With hands over my face, I sobbed. What kind of a man is he? Then I heard my dad cried on TV and said, “I have been waiting for you every day since the day you left.”

The parable of The Lost Son is only found in Luke 15:11-32. It was the longest parable in the Bible and the last of the three ‘Lost’ parables.

This story arouses many hearers to anger as asking inheritance from a father who is still alive is considered a deep disrespect. And then the anger may turn towards the father as he is willing to give it to the younger son instead of reprimanding him. The religious Pharisees of the day will certainly disapprove of such grace given. But the father knows that inheritance is meant to pass on, sooner or later, unless he wants control like the religious leaders of the day.

Young and immature, he squanders his wealth in wild living (15:13). Only in complete desperation, he thinks of coming back. Not as a son but as an ordinary servant. He gives up hope for restoration into the family because of his great sin. He reasons he could at least get back some dignity of a normal human life. To his surprise, he sees his father running towards him in a far distance.

At this time, the hearers of this parable are in a state of shock. How could Jesus tell such a story? How can a father run in such an uncivilised way towards a way ward son? The Pharisees could have lost their heads here when the father reconciles and restores the younger son to the family. He deserves to be ostracised or even beaten for bringing this shame to the village.

The strong emotions that emanate from this story are exactly what Jesus intends for his hearers. The party to celebrate the long lost son may be the last straw for the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. And then Jesus brings out the older brother in the story. He is angry with the father just like those religious Jews. How could you, dad? This is super not right! Did you ever hold a party for me for what I had worked for you all these years?

The father treats his sons as sons and never ever as slaves. They are forever his flesh and blood, no matter what. When the older son was with him, everyday was a party for the dad! But whenever he thought of the lost younger son, he longed for him to come back. He could not celebrate yet with him because he was lost.

At the end, Jesus in essence asked these Pharisees and religious teachers, are you slaves or sons? Is God your Father or you are just His hired servants?

Obviously, there are two responses from the hearers. First response, the poor and the marginalised sinners rejoice at the grace of their heavenly Father. The religious Jews on the other hand, are angered by grace shown to these messed-up people. They may think that they should receive more than all these dirty people.

Today, God’s grace and compassion still usher in souls into His kingdom. Some of these people are murderers, cheaters, prostitutes and gangsters! And heaven celebrates when they repent and accept the Lord Jesus as their Saviour!

Do you have problems with this?