Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Prodigal Son

I thought I would follow the last blog, which was very stern, with a change of pace and write a blog concerning God's love. When most people think of God they think of an old man sitting on a throne without a smile on his face, waiting to smite sinners at every change he gets. This of course is not the picture Jesus painted for us. He painted a picture of a loving father waiting for his Child to come home. Read the following from Luke 15:


To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: "A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now before you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons."

Let's pause here to examine this further. This child wanted his father's inheritance now before his father was dead. In asking for it before his death it was as if he were telling his father, "I want your money and I'm tired of waiting for you to die. I wish you were dead now so I could have it but since you aren't I want it now." It was one of the most disrespectful things he could said to his father.

13 "A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything."

Let's pause here again. He wasted his riches on wild living. Literally he waste it on partying and prostitutes. He was so poor he got a job feeding pigs. For a Jew of this time period nothing was more degrading as pigs were unclean and they weren't even suppose to touch them. Yet he was so hungry he'd be glad to eat the leftovers from the pig's feed.

17 "When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant."'

20 "So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'

Let's pause again. His father was a wealthy man who wore long robes. In order to run to his son he would have had to lift his robes. This would have been undignified of a man of his social standing. Yet when his son returned he was glad to do it! This is a beautiful picture of Jesus. Even though Jesus is God he hung on a cross for us which was surely something less than dignified for the God of the universe. Yet he was glad to do it! And he watches for us to come home to him like a father waiting.

22 "But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began.

When we come to the father after coming to our senses and coming to the cross God treats it as a time of celebration. He doesn't condemn you for what you did, he celebrates the fact that you've turned away from your sinful lifestyle to come to him. Even if you think you're the lowest of the low and there is no way God could ever love you, he loved you enough to send Jesus to die. And if you come to him he will welcome you with open arms and a smile on his face because he loves you. He'll lift up his robes and run to you!


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