Have you ever heard of the parable of the lost son? It’s one of the most well known parables of Jesus. Jesus is seen in close proximity to tax collectors and “sinners”. (Jesus was spending time with the despised and broken.) The Pharisees and teachers of the law (the “religious” guys) approach the scene and start to wonder why Jesus is spending time with a bunch of outcasts. And in order to speak to their concerns, Jesus tells a story.
A dad has two sons. The younger son says, “Dad, you’re dead to me. Give me my inheritance and I’m gone.” The dad complies with the sons request and the younger son heads off for Vegas. (Okay, that’s not exactly how the story went, but you get the picture!) After a time of wild living, this son hits rock bottom. So he prepares a speech and drags his feet back home to ask his dad for a job. But before the son could even get the speech off, the dad embraces this son. Shortly afterwards, they begin to party.
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” -Luke 15:22-24
GRACE TO THE YOUNGER SON.
The son didn’t even get the speech off and the dad turns to his servants and says, “Ring! Robe! Steak! Let’s party!” The Pharisees listening as Jesus tells this story are probably cringing in the corner. The younger son has belittled his dad’s name and blown all of his money. Yet the father still responds by giving him everything. Dad says, “I’ll handle the offense. You’re my son. Here’s my ring (authority) and my robes (righteousness). Let’s celebrate!” This son deserved every punishment the dad could think of. Instead, dad gave him everything.
In the past, this is the point in the story where I check out. The younger son was lost and is now found. It’s an amazing picture of God’s grace for those of us that have sinfully rebelled against Him. But, I often forget that this story isn’t over.
GRACE TO THE OLDER SON.
While all of this is happening, the older son was working nearby and hears the sound of music and dancing. He comes to investigate what’s going on, and when he founds out that his brother is back he starts pouting. The older son says, “I’m not joining that party! I’ve been faithful and haven’t received a thing, but my rebellious brat of a brother came back and dad gave him everything.” And right on cue, dad starts begging this son to join the party.
This older son has lost sight of his identity. He’s begun to rely on his own self-righteousness. Yet the father arrives and again, shows grace. This is an amazing picture of God’s grace for those of us that have rebelled against Him in our own self-righteousness.
GRACE TO YOU.
Rebellion looks different for everyone. We all seek life in something. Some people are like the younger son and search for life with drugs, drinking, and sex. Still others are like the older son and search for life in our performance, effort, and accomplishments. No matter how we search for life, we’re always left disappointed. And when we’re faced with God’s grace, too often we lean into lies. We think we’re too broken for the Father to want us at His party, or we think we can get to the party on our own accord. Both of these lies seep into our hearts, and both are dead wrong.
Jesus paid our price on the cross, and He was raised from the dead so that we too can live. Our rebellion is paid for. Our offense is taken care of. The Father wants to have a party for us and with us. Stop searching for life and start living.
*Want to accept the invitation? Tired of listening to the lies? I want to pray and celebrate with you as you take this exciting next step in your walk with Jesus. Contact Scott
**Listen to the sermon series, THE PARABLES OF JESUS.
(Photo by Flickr user: Mariano Mantel)