The dubious honor of being the first actual blu-ray disc played in our blu-ray player goes to, of all movies, "The Invention of Lying." I won't go into the theology of it here because I don't care, but I will use it as an example.
Early in the movie, the main character Mark (Ricky Gervais) tells his friend Greg (Louis CK) that they need to leave the bar and go. Greg downs two more shots and shouts, "I'm driving!" As we see the car weaving in and out of traffic, Mark asks, "are you sure you're OK to drive?" Greg responds, "Yeah, I need to hit bottom." Cue the lights and sirens as Mark says, "looks like the bottom is coming soon."
Its a lot funnier in the context of the movie.
Anyway, all that to say that we all have a bottom at some point in our lives. For some, it is in the form of a DUI. For others it isn't quite as drastic or dangerous. For some it is the moment when a lifetime of choosing work over family means your wife isn't there when you arrive home at 11pm for the sixth night in a row. We all have a rock bottom because our sins of choice lead us to that place where the consequences that we had long been warned about, finally come true.
Eugene Peterson translates Matthew 5.3 (poor in spirit) as "You're blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule." Which is essentially what the whole parable of the prodigal son is all about. A series of people finding rock bottom, finding the consequences of their decisions. What we miss out on, and what we are left to determine on our own, is how the second brother will respond. Will he accept the blessing and welcome his brother, or will he continue to dig down beyond the bottom?
We all find ourselves at rock bottom at least once in our lives. Sometimes it is due to a lifetime of drunken debauchery (brother 1), sometimes it is due to our unwillingness to forgive (brother 2), but always it is an opportunity for blessings.
This one, who was dead has come to life. We must rejoice.