Summary: Reconciliation, forgiveness, grace
THE SHATTERING CONFRONTATION
Luke 15: 20-24 (p740) July 31, 2011
On Sunday July 17th Casey Anthony was escorted out of the orange County field in Orlando, Florida at 12:14 am. She was accompanied by her attorney Jose' Beaiz and a police officer with a sub-machine gun. She was rushed to an awaiting S.U. V.
Standing outside the police barriers were a thousand people...including parents with children and a myriad of reporters from every network...
Unless you live under a rock you've heard something about this trial...A young single mother who was arrested for killing her 2 year old daughter Caylee Marie...convicted of lying to police about her whereabouts and not reporting her disappearance for 31 days.
After 6 weeks of trail a jury of 12 declared her not guilty of any of the murder charges...she was sentenced to 4 years of lying to police officers but because of time served and good behavior time she was released just 10 days after the verdict...2/3rds of this nation thought the jury got it wrong.
1000 of them waited outside the police barriers on the night she was released...and as she was rushed to the vehicle that would take her to parts unknown...people screamed "you suck!" Baby Killer...Murderer...LIAR!
They pushed against the barrier...the hatred and anger poured out...the injustice exploded in venom...
I've quit trying to figure out how this story will end...I have no idea what Casey's life will be like...nor the life of her Mom, Dad and brother...But because of that little 2 year old a part of me hopes she's a pariah everywhere she goes.. A part of me hopes she has to run that gauntlet every time she walks out her front door. If she's truly guilty of Kelly her daughter she deserves that and far worse...
a life lived where you are hated everywhere you go would indeed be far worse than prison..or even death.
Verse 20 records these words about the prodigal youngest son in our story...
"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."
As the prodigal returns to his village he expects to run the gauntlet...As soon as people discover he's lost the money among the gentiles the "KEZAZAH" ceremony will be enacted....the pot's broken, pieces of clay scattered like his dreams...He will then be obliged to sit outside of the gate of the family home before even being able to see his father.
Finally, when he's summoned..having already been rejected and humiliated by the village, he'll stand before the angry father and be obligated to apologize for everything as he pleads for job training in the next village...probably while his older brother looks on with hatred and distress
Even with the plan he's worked out in his mind...none of this is omitting...each step he draws closer...the dreaded humiliation fills his heart...as he sees the village...and the people in the streets...he prepares himself for "Son of pigs"...."they" "Rebel" "Loses"
But hit isn't what happens, as
I HIS FATHER BREAKS ALL THE RULES
This father breaks all the rules of an oriental patriarch as he runs down the road to reconcile his son to himself.
The word run in Greek (dramon) is the technical term used for the footraces in the stadium. Paul uses it many times in his letters... 1Cor 9:24 says "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but only one gets the prize."
Luke chooses his words carefully...this is not a slow gallop or a trot..."His father saw him and had compassion and RACED to him."
In the middle East a man of his age and position always walks in a slow dignified manner...no villager over the age of 25 runs. It's pretty safe to assume the father has not raced anywhere for 40years.
But now he races down the road...He's tucked his garment in his belt...'girded his lions" as the saying goes...revealing legs that haven't seen the light of day in decades. Doing this is humiliating...its painfully shameful for him...The gang in the street will forget about the prodigal and turn their taunts on him...Amazed at a respected village elder becoming totally undignified as he races out to his son.
What motivates this shameful display our text tells us...'compassion'.
These actions clearly affirm the deepest levels of what incarnation and atonement mean.
Paul affirms this truth in 2 Cor 5:19 "In Christ God was reconciling the the world to Himself"
John tells us in his gospel that Jesus proclaims "I and the Father are one" John 10:30
This parable show us a father who leaves the comfort and security of his home and humiliates himself before the entire village. It's a costly demonstration of unexpected love...It is exactly what we see on the cross.