Summary: A refocus on the Parable of the Lost Son
As we come to the end of our series on Loving like God I just want to put this out there right off the bat… Our Father is such a good Dad. I mean he is amazing, his love, his faithfulness, his grace, his mercy, he is just so awesome.
If there is one thing that I want you to leave with today is knowing just how amazing a Dad we have in Father God. His willingness to connect with each and every one of us at such a personal and intimate way is what stands out as the biggest difference between our God and everything else that this world has to offer. He knows you, He loves you, He is looking out for you waiting for you to turn back to him, waiting for you to realise that everything that He has is yours too.
If that sounds too good to be true remember its good because God is truth.
So lets Pray
I think that we need to do a quick bit of adjustment here because we are so familiar with this story and we are even more familiar with the title that scholars have given it over the years. The problem with calling it the Parable of the Lost son, or prodigal son is that we pull our focus away from the main character of the parable to focus on the son who has gone astray.
This story is the third in a series of three parables that Jesus taught to reveal the nature of his Father to those who came to listen to him, both sinners and those who would call themselves righteous. The first two parables are about a lost sheep and a lost coin respectively, the thing is that we find it hard to identify as a lost sheep or a lost coin, so we get the imagery that the main point is not on what was lost but on who was looking for it and the celebration that happens when that thing is found.
But when we get on to this parable we often move our attention away from the one who is looking to the one who is lost, because it is easier for us to identify with him.
The problem is that we often get into a bit of a comparison battle and we start to think to ourselves as we hear this tale unpacked that we aren’t as bad as the younger brother, we’ve not abandoned our family, we’ve not gone off and wasted money, time and all the vices that are listed, we’re not morally and financially bankrupt and so we allow the point of the story to wash over us hoping that the imagery will connect with someone who is worse off than you, someone who really needs Jesus.
This is why I don’t actually call this parable the prodigal son or the lost son, I call it the parable of the good father, I figure if we are going to give a title where there never was one, lets give it a title that doesn’t distract from the point that Jesus was making.
So what is the point that Jesus is driving home, its rather simple really; God the Father is the one who is looking for you and no matter who you are or where your relationship with him is today there is more of him for you to experience.
If you are feeling a long way off from God, like he is sat in heaven wondering where you are; getting all angry because you’ve walked away from him and you’ve done things that you’re ashamed of; that you think are unforgiveable; that you think are to distant, dirty and guilty to approach him, to be called his child then know that the Father is out there looking for you, just waiting for you to turn to him and then he will come running, this story says that he sees you when you’re still far off.
What this means is that He doesn’t expect you to come to him all clean in and of yourself, you can imagine the picture, this son has been starving, working with pigs and sleeping alongside; he’s a mess, and the Father runs to him while he is still far off, he has no time to clean himself up, let alone get the speech out that he’s prepared. He stinks, he’s dirty, everything that is a consequence of the way he choose to live his life is still there for the Father to see, yet there is no judgement.
The Fathers reaction is to run to him, to embrace him, to kiss him, the Father wasn’t afraid of getting a little dirty himself in order to restore his son because he knows that the dirt doesn’t stick to him or change him, he knows that actually he is the one who can get rid of all the consequences of the poor choices that his son has made.