Luke 15

Luke 15 has Jesus teaching in parables.  The Pharisees and scribes are upset because “the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him”.  They didn’t think Jesus should hang out with that kind of crowd.  So Jesus tells them a parable about the man with a hundred sheep, and the woman who lost one coin.  The lesson from both was that God rejoices over each one.  In the parable of the sheep, He says “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”.  God is in the business of saving us.

Jesus goes on to tell one of the most famous parables in all of scripture – the story of the Prodigal Son.  A young son comes to his father and asks for his share of the inheritance.  “Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me”.  Legacy is about far more than what we do with our stuff, but in this story, the young man is focused on getting what he believes belongs to him.  In those days a father could either grant the inheritance before or after his death, but it was usually done after he passed away. But in this case, the younger son asked for a special exception, motivated by foolishness and greed.  He wants to take what is his and live wildly so “he squandered his property in reckless living”.

His father knew that this was going to happen.  This son wanted his independence, but he wasn’t ready to be alone and on his own.  Yet the father allowed it to happen.  Sometimes it is only through experiencing the school of hard knocks that we learn things.  After a fairly short time, the money was gone and this kid was feeding pigs.  “When he  came to himself, he said….my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger”.  It’s not going well for him. This isn’t the dream life that he had in mind.

So he decides to go back home and tell his father “I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants”.  He knew that being with his father would be better than anyplace he could be on his own.  His father had never given up hope that he would come to his senses.  He was always watching and “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him”.  He didn’t wait for him to arrive – he ran to greet him.  He didn’t scold him for his foolishness – the father welcomed him with open arms.

It becomes a major celebration as “the father said to his servants, Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate….my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found”.  God rejoices when we come back to Him from our life of sin.  He is waiting and watching, not only ready to welcome us back, but ready to throw a party about our return.  God is in the restoration business – He wants to restore us into relationship with Him.  We leave through our sin.  We return through our repentance.  He is there ready to welcome us home!

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