Summary: God offers us ultimate forgivness.
This morning we are starting a series which will last for a total of 5 weeks.
It’s appropriate that we start this series on Easter, because without the resurrection, there would be no ultimate forgiveness. There would be no opportunity for you and I to receive forgiveness from our Creator, from God.
And without this ultimate forgiveness that God provides for us, it would be impossible for us to forgive ourselves, for us to forgive others and for us to live in the freedom that comes from forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a big topic we will examine it in pieces. Next week we will look at forgiving ourselves which is often a difficult topic for many people. Then we will talk about how to forgive others which can be a very difficult task. Then we will examine how long forgiveness last. And the last week we will look at ways to live as forgiven people.
-- Forgiveness is a word that is misunderstood, mismanaged and often misapplied in our lives and probably most often stated more than really enacted.
No one wants to admit that they need forgiveness. It is rare that we seek it and we are often resistant to offer it. But deep down in the core of our being forgiveness is a universal need.
This parable is a response to the comments of the religious authorities that are listening to Jesus teach tax collectors and sinners about the kingdom of God.
Jesus tells a story about how far God will go to receive a lost child back in to the family.
The younger son makes a request of the father that would have been unheard of in the day. Technically he is saying Father I want what you are going to leave me when you die. In a way it was like he said, Dad I wish you were dead so I can start living.
In Jesus story the father does not react to the request, he simply submits and divides his estate between his two sons.
The younger son goes off and blows everything in a foreign country.
Let me give you a visual image, the younger son goes down to Daytona Beach and parties with beer, and Girls and who knows what else. He gets a Harley Motor cycle, and rides up and down the street at all hours looking for fun where ever he can find it. He makes no effort to establish himself in business or to purchase property. He lives in a rented room until the money runs out. Suddenly he has no choice except to get a less than minimum wage job feeding pigs and he won’t get his first check until the end of the month. He has 30 days before he can purchase his first meal and he is so hungry.
Ok, here is the quick history overview. A good Jewish boy does not ask for is inheritance before his dad is dead or at least not until he retires and is ready to trust the oldest son with all the daily decisions.
A good son would not blow all the hard earned money that his dad gave him, especially not in gentile territory on sinful things. Getting a job would not be so bad but with pigs ... Everything we hear about the younger son and the foreign country was sinful.
Folks there are all kinds of views on this story. For our purposes this morning we are going to stick to the simplest view. I hope you will stretch your selves into the role of the younger son for today’s discussion.
Wither we want to admit it or not we are all sinners. Perhaps some of us are less sinful than others except for one detail; God does not see sin with a scale. With God it is all black and white.
We all need ultimate forgiveness from our creator; we tend not to really worry if He is dead or alive. However, we all have a little nagging feeling that we need something.
And all too often we just don’t seem to know how to get it.
In the scripture the son is said to come to his senses. He realizes he could do better at home, as a servant than he is experiencing at them moment. And he thinks that he will have to listen to a lecture and eat a little crow…But at least he will have a good meal and a roof over his head.
He realizes that he has a desire to get back to something better and plans to ask for forgiveness.
For us, forgiveness comes when we realize that we have a need to improve our relationship with God. It means that we realize that we have been living our own way with no concern as to what our creator might expect. Basically, we come to our senses and realize that there must be something better available than the way we are living right now.