Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have seen that in answering the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes, who condemned the Savior for eating with sinners (15:1-2), the Lord spoke three parables unveiling how the Divine Trinity works to bring sinners back, through the Son by the Spirit to the Father. In 15:4-7 the Son as the Shepherd goes into the wilderness to seek the lost sheep. In 15:8-10 we have the Spirit as the woman lighting a lamp, sweeping the house, and seeking carefully for a lost silver coin. The “house” in verse 8 refers to our being. The Spirit comes into us as the house to enlighten us. Finally, in 15:11-32, the Father receives the returned prodigal son.
In the parable of the loving father, the father must have been outside the door of his dwelling when he saw his son approaching (v. 20). The father saw his son even while “he was still a long way off.” This would not have been possible if the father had been in the house. Therefore, the father must have been outside the door looking for the son. Eventually, the father with the son came back into the father’s dwelling.
Luke 15:25 refers to the father’s house. What is signified by the father’s house here? Christians may interpret the father’s house as signifying a heavenly mansion. According to this interpretation, when a sinner repents and comes back to God, one day God will receive him into a heavenly mansion. This understanding of the father’s house is not logical. It is not logical to say that we have come back to the Father and He has received us and yet we are still not in His house. Where, then, are we? Luke indicates in this parable that the prodigal son was received into the house immediately after he returned, and in the house there was a place to prepare food and a place to dine.
To be sure, the father’s house in the parable does not refer to heaven. If this house signifies heaven, then where are we who have been saved and who have been received by the Father, since we are not yet in heaven? Actually, the father’s house here should signify the church. In chapter ten the church is signified by the inn. Now in chapter fifteen the church is the father’s house. This understanding is logical and scriptural.
In the parable of the loving father there is no time gap between the coming back of the prodigal son and the father’s receiving him into his house. The son’s coming back is continued immediately by the father’s receiving him into the house. Therefore, in these three parables the Son came into the wilderness, the Spirit came into our being, and the Father receives us into His house.
What is the wilderness into which the Son as the Shepherd came seeking the lost sheep? The wilderness signifies the world. In the sight of God the world is a wilderness, a wild, desolate place where it is easy to get lost. The Son came in the wilderness to seek us, the lost sheep.
Now we need to ask in what way the Son as the Shepherd came to seek us. In contrast to the Spirit signified by the woman with the lamp, the Son does not seek us by enlightening us. His way to seek us out is to die for us. In John 10:11 the Lord Jesus says that He is the good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” The work of the Shepherd is to die for us. If He did not die for us, He would not have a way to seek us out. His way of seeking us is to die for us.
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