Amazing Grace, Unfailing Love
Jesus’ most powerful parable (Luke 15:11-32) sees a loving father gloriously restore & then fabulously celebrate the return of his lost & wayward son.
The family was reunited but the older son struggled to join in the celebrations.
To conclude this series I want to think around some of the issues that plagued the older son.
If we are not careful we can act like this son & get stuck in ‘religious mindsets’.
“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ” Luke 15: 28-32
The older son would not join in the celebrations. He was not happy & not ready to join the party.
He had been busy serving the father & family business for many years.
In the midst of his service he had got caught up in & totally consumed by his hard work & somehow forgotten who he truly was.
His attention was upon keeping commandments rather than experiencing & enjoying relationship with his father & all the associated benefits.
The son that stayed was also caught up in comparison (perhaps even competition) with the son who had strayed but who had now returned.
What has ever been done for me was the gist of his stubborn, selfish strop!
Not joining in the celebrations would have likely caused a public scandal & brought disgrace upon the family.
This son has lost his way too but in an altogether different manner.
He had become more of a servant than a son! Duty had replaced the delight of his father’s love.
His mindset was robbing him of the huge significance & utter joy of the occasion.
The father quickly acts to bring restoration for this son too by reminding him of who he truly is.
He was reminded that he had the constant presence of his father with him & that all the father had was his.
All he had to do was ask but his sense of duty & work ethic had hindered him from doing so – all I have is yours!
The father also reminded him how important & appropriate it was that they celebrate the return & restoration of his lost but now found brother.
The parable doesn’t conclusively reveal the outcome of this conversation.
I like to think that the father’s love & grace won the older son over by reminding him who he truly was.
By returning to the party & joining in the celebrations all public scandal & disgrace would be removed.
If so two lost sons are restored to their father’s heart. Wonderful!
The heavenly Father treats us like both of these sons. He restores our true identity through his love & grace.
He celebrates us & He is constantly reminding us of who we are (His beloved children & Romans 8:14-17) heirs& what that means. All He has is ours!!!
It is so easy for us (especially if we have been saved for many years) to forget our first love (Revelation 2:4) & get consumed by Christian duty.
Service is right & appropriate, but we serve as sons & not just servants or slaves!
All of our kingdom responsibilities must flow out of our covenant relationship with Father. FROM not for.
Never forget who you are & all that is at your disposal because of Christ.
What amazing grace & what unfailing love. It is yours forever – Hallelujah!
God runs to us ‘In Christ’ – Oh what a Saviour!
- Am I confident asking Father for what I need? Do I readily remember I am a royal heir?
- In what ways do I celebrate the success & blessings of others?
- Meditate upon the amazing truth that all our heavenly Father has is yours!
A song related to this theme:
Thank you that through Your great love & grace,
You have adopted me into Your family.
Jesus thank you for being my co-heir & for making my return & restoration possible..
Holy Spirit keep me ever mindful of who I truly am ‘in Christ’.
In Jesus mighty Name.
Written by Gareth Jones