January 23rd-26th of 2017 I sat in Lexington County Detention Center. I was full of despair to the point of taking my own life. I silently began to pray Psalms 46:10 over and over again. God sent a nameless middle aged man, who could have truly been an angel, into jail to point me quietly back to the Father. I started that slow journey back home to the Father on the cold concrete ground with a coverless Bible in jail.
In the middle of the parable in Luke 15, the younger son finds himself in the pig pen. As our preacher said two Sundays ago “if you wanted to paint a picture lower than this you couldn’t.” It is very easy to identify where people have stumbled into blatant pig pens, which is a very sensitive way of saying a disastrous mess. It is like the man who has thrown all his future away for alcohol; it is like the drug abuser who lives in the ghetto; and the list goes on and on, and we immediately see the squalor they are living in. However, the pig pen doesn’t always look disgusting or unappealing or lowly. In fact, this world dresses up its’ pig pens quite well, but Christ makes it clear in this parable that heading away from the Father leads right to them. You will slowly sink lower and lower until you find yourself destitute.
The Good news of the Gospel is Jesus Christ was the true older son! He sees us in our desperation, and comes and gets us to bring us back to the Father. He went to the real pig pen physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and on the third day he rose from the mud! We are allowed back into the feast with seats as sons and daughters because of Christ’s righteousness. He left our righteousness in the mud where he found us. The Father looks at us in Christ’s perfect righteousness wholly forgiven and made perfectly beautiful!