June 26th

The Parable of the Lost Son  (Luke 15:11-32)

17"But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."' 20"And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22"But the father said to his servants, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.  Luke 15:17-24 NKJV  (read the whole story at Luke15:11-32

 

Jesus illustrates some of God’s wonderful qualities as our heavenly father in this parable.  The father’s joy and acceptance of the wayward son shows us how God welcomes us home when we turn from our sinful ways. 

 

One of the devil’s tactics is to use condemnation to keep us from turning back to God.  He plays on the shame we feel from our sin with false suggestions like God is angry with us and wants to punish us for our sin.  We receive emails from people daily who have allowed such lies to cut them off from returning to God. 

 

The truth is that Jesus paid the death penalty for our sin and purchased peace with God for us.  God is not angry with us because Jesus already bore the punishment that we deserved.  Trusting in Jesus, we can boldly approach God’s throne and receive forgiveness and cleansing for our sin.  We should not use this as a license to continue sinning, but rather, as an assurance that if we fall, we are not doomed to hell. 

 

It grieves God to see us “practicing sin.”  It cost him so much (i.e. his Son’s death) to reconcile us with him.  He wants us to turn from our sin and come “home” to him.  When we return to him, we can start living a new life, free of slavery to sin.  This new life is available to us right now and the Holy Spirit will help us discover how to live it.  It’s benefits include healing, restoration, renewal, peace, joy, happiness and contentment.  They start now and will last to eternity.

 

Do you feel like the prodigal son, having squandered the spiritual inheritance God had in store for your life?  Do you feel like you spent your energy and talents in pursuit of pleasure and lust?  Remember that your heavenly Father is at home calling on you to come home and live life for him!  If you turn back to him, he will welcome you with open arms. 

 

Questions for further thought:

  • Considering the context of this passage, how does God respond when a sinner repents? (Luke 15:7,10)
  • Though the prodigal son was ashamed, how did his father treat him?
  • Though we are ashamed of our sin, how does God treat us?
  • How has the character of your earthly father impacted your impression of God as a your Heavenly Father?

 

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing and honoring me with Jesus, who sacrificed his life for me. I don’t deserve such a precious gift, but I receive it by trusting in Jesus today.  Please forgive me and cleanse me from my sins and lead me in the path of righteousness from today forward.  Even though I may feel that I’ve squandered my spiritual inheritance, I thank you that I can lay hold of it again and live the “new life” with the Holy Spirit living in me.  Thank you for welcoming me home with open arms!  I love you and praise you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”