Summary: From the parable of the prodigal son, we see the Father’s love and longing for his lost son to return. The salvation of the lost is a big thing to Him. Do we know our Father’s heart today?
Luke 15:11-32 UNDERSTANDING THE FATHER’S HEART
What is God really like? The Bible says He is a Father to us, we are His children.
It is not enough to ask, “Do you believe in God?” What is more important is “What kind of God do you believe in?”
Jesus tells us here in this chapter through 3 short parables.
In order to understand the parables, we need to start with verses 1-2: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!’”
We can almost feel the tension here - Jesus likes to spend time with the worst kind of people and it bothered the self-righteous religious people. They wanted Him to spend his time with good people.
Jesus went on to tell three stories – from these we can come to understand our heavenly Father.
Who is He? What is He concerned about? Hopefully we will get a better understanding of the heart of our Father today. As His children, we need to know what our Father is concerned about.
In the first one, a farmer has 100 sheep and one gets lost. Jesus shows how the farmer leaves the 99 and goes on a search and rescue mission for the one that is lost. In the second story, a widow loses one of her 10 coins and searches intently until she finds it. These coins represented her life savings!
In the third story, a son is lost and eventually returns home.
There are many things that could be said about these 3 parables but we see one common thread in all three - whenever the lost is found, there is great rejoicing! In Verse 6, the farmer calls his buddies together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” In verse 9, the widow says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” And when the lost son returns home, the father throws a big party.
Jesus is making the point that when the lost are found, heaven throws a big celebration! Whenever a lost person repents, spontaneous joy breaks out in heaven.
Why do we want to spend time with the lost? Why preach the Gospel? Why share our testimony?
Because that’s what the FATHER is concerned about. Because that’s where His heart is.
We want to please our Father – we want to do what He longs to see.
Our Father has a HEART FOR THE LOST. He wants man to know Him and return to the blessed way.
It is LONGING HEART – in the last story, we see the father waiting for his son’s return.
Luke 15:20 "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.”
This is a great moment. His father saw him and was moved with compassion. Have you ever wondered how long the son was gone? It was probably at least a couple months, if not longer. Day after day the father watched for his son. Night after night he waited for his return.
It is a LOVING HEART – filled with compassion FOR him
It is a GRACIOUS HEART – threw his arms around him and kissed him. No reprimand, no judgment.
This is a “Grace Encounter” – because the father has already forgiven him. He restores him back as his son by giving him the robe, the ring and sandals. The boy repented. He was prepared to be a slave for the father, but it was not necessary. The father has prepared everything.
This is the same encounter we have today – when we come to God, we realised He has prepared everything we need. When we confess our sins and repent, God gives us the right to become His children (John 1:12). Jesus paid the price; we don’t have to be slave, to do something to repay for our wrongs. In fact, we can’t. Only Jesus can.
Now what is left for us is to turn back – like the younger son – to realize our wrongs, repent and return home. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
A beggar stopped a lawyer on the street in a large city and asked him for some coins. Taking a long, hard look into the man’s unshaven face, the attorney asked, "Don’t I know you from somewhere?"
"You should," came the reply. "I’m your former classmate. Remember, 2nd floor, old Oxford High School?"
"Why Sam, of course I know you!" Without further question the lawyer wrote a check for $1000.