January 15, 2020·Mario Ortiz
I love how Jesus uses stories to teach us the truth. The Bible calls these stories parables, and Jesus told parables to show us a better picture of the Kingdom and Himself.
In Luke 15:1-2, Jesus is talking to two groups of people: those who think they are far from God and those who think they are close to God — and He launches into three stories about God: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Today, I want us to focus on the parable of The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-31).
As we read this story, we must understand that when the son is asking for his inheritance while the father is still alive, is to wish him dead. In other words, what the younger son is saying is, “I want your stuff, but I don’t want you” or “I want the father’s things, but I don’t want the father.” This father is enduring one of the most painful things a parent can face. The pain and agony that accompanies rejected love can be unbearable; yet, this father maintains his love for his son.
We all know how the story goes. The son takes his money and goes out to live a life of sin. Eventually, he realizes he messed up, so he comes up with a plan to go back home and ask his father for a job. As he’s coming back, the father, that’s been enduring pain, sees him from afar. HE RUNS (Middle Eastern Patriarchs did not run) to him, embraces him, hangs on his neck, kisses him, cries, jumps, shouts, and does everything you can imagine a father who had lost his son, but has now found him, would do! The son is probably trying to tell him his plan of working for him, but the father can’t hear him with all the tears, laughter and joy he’s experiencing, so he says, “bring the best coat, bring the ring, bring the sandals… we’re gonna party!” The father says, “I’m not going to wait for you to clean up! You’re not going to earn your way back into the family! I’m bringing you back in! We’re having a feast!”
What is Jesus doing here?
1. He’s showing us what a good father God is.
Jesus is redefining God as a loving Father. A Father that, after bearing the agony of rejected love, opens up His arms and embraces us.
2. He’s showing us how the Father’s embrace has the power to restore us.
The younger son rejected his father and lived a life of sin. This kind of life alienates us from the Father’s heart, but His embrace redeems and restores us.
The father in this parable had two sons, but we almost always forget about the older son. We tend to think the older son was the “good one.” But, as we read the story carefully, we find out they are BOTH LOST. The younger son (bad son) is lost in his badness, and the older son (good son) is lost in his goodness, and, in the end, it’s the “bad son” that is saved and the “good son” is lost.
So, the son that lived a life of debauchery is saved and the moral one is lost? Yes!
Remember that Jesus is talking to a crowd that has those who think they are far from God (younger son) and those who think they are close to God (older son). And Jesus is saying, “you are both far from the Father.” In other words, sin separates us from the Father, but so does our goodness (our religiosity).
If you think your goodness gets you closer to God, think again! And if you think your sin is so bad that God can’t embrace you, think again! If you think people that have lived a life of debauchery can’t be saved, think again!
Let’s be the kind of people that:
Celebrate when someone gets saved!
Celebrate when someone gets restored!
Celebrate when someone is redeemed!
Celebrate when someone that was lost comes home to the Father!
Luke 15:10 says, “In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
This verse points out that a party is thrown in heaven when the lost come home. “There is joy in the presence of the angels” — the angels are watching GOD HAVING A PARTY!
In the same way, we should be people that party every time someone that was lost comes home.
Pastor Mario Ortiz