Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 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. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” – Luke 15:11-21
Could you imagine what this man’s neighbors might have said? “Parents just don’t raise their kids like they used to. First the boy runs off with the inheritance, and now dad’s running out to welcome him? I tell ya, if that were my kid it would be a whole different story. He’d have to come crawling back on his knees. I’d tell him quite frankly, ‘You blew it! The shame you have brought on this family, you don’t even deserve to stand on my doorstep.’ Maybe, just maybe, if he straightened his life out, stopped partying, and showed up for work every day, I’d think about letting him live in the old shack down by the gate. But to welcome him back like that? Never!”
The love of this father goes far beyond what we would expect. It is reckless, maybe even foolish. But that’s how God loves us. He loved us even though we were dead in our transgressions and sins. He sent his one and only Son to die for us while we were still sinners. Why? Because he was filled with compassion for us. His love goes far beyond anything we could expect or imagine.
This reminds us that we can always return to our heavenly Father. Whether we have been living in open rebellion like the lost son, or we have been rebelling with secret sins that lurk deep within our hearts, we can always say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you,” and be confident that God in his grace will run to us with his arms wide open.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help me to see that your love is so boundless that it accepts even me. Lead me to repent of the sins in my life and to commit myself to you. Through Jesus my Savior, I pray. Amen.
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Sunday, March 18
Sunday School & Adult Bible Class: 9 a.m.
Worship: 10 a.m.*