11 And he said, A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
LUKE 15:11-12 KJV
Now, the request of the son was according to the law of Moses.
But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
This is a discourse on how a man should divide his inheritance among his sons under the law of Moses. And the eldest son was supposed to take twice as the other children. If there were two sons, the elder son was supposed to take twice as much as the younger son. Dividing the inheritance among the sons was not the issue with the event of Luke 15:12
The Father Is Not Dead
The problem with the request is that although a man may divide his inheritance when he is alive, the heirs can only gain control of their portions after the death of the father.
In fact, making an agreement of this kind is like writing a will. This is because the one who makes the will must die before it is of any use.
HEBREWS 9:16 CEV
A will or a testament is of no use to the inheritor until the testator (the person who made the will) dies. However, in this case, the young man was asking his father to gain control of his portion when the father was still alive.
Now, what does that mean? He didn’t care if the father was dead. He was no more interested in this relationship. He wanted to enjoy the inheritance on his own terms. He wanted to gain control of how to order his own life henceforth.
The Father Broke Up his Life
In the latter part of verse 12, it is recorded that the father divided unto them his ‘living’. Now, don’t forget this. Look at the word ‘them’, it means the father divided all he is and all he has. In the middle eastern cultural setting of the parable, a man’s land, resources, and wealth were the things that gave him a standing in the society. To divide them up and allocate them to others basically means that one was effectively falling on one own’s sword. But that’s what the father did. The word here for living is ‘’bios’’ which simply denotes life. He literally tore up his life. This should ring a bell – a father who gave his life for his children. That’s the Gospel!
And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
LUKE 15:13 KJV
The Depiction of the Younger Son
This parable of Jesus was meant to show us the various ways people choose to live their lives or at least make a sense of it. Verses 12 and 13 highlight the genesis of how the younger son chose to live his life or at least make sense of it.
If you listen to the news out there, watch the TV, go on social networking sites, there seem to be a common theme underlying many people’s life choices and decisions. For example, some may say, “you know what, it’s my life; I just want to express myself.” Some other people may be adamant that they don’t want to follow what people in my family want me to do or that they want to find out what works for them. Self-expression! Self-discovery! If it works for me, it is my truth and it is good.
Self-discovery — just travel on your own journey. In verse 13, it states that “he went on a journey” — a journey of self-discovery; “I want to discover myself.” “I want to discover that which works for me” — that is what the younger son represents.
He went on a journey and wasted his substance with riotous living. That’s living out of control- reckless with no boundaries or restraint.