Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday Easter 6 - Luke 15

Ordinarily since I didn't have time yesterday to post, I might skip to today's treasures. But with such meaty, grace filled texts as Psalm 103 and Luke 15...
Here's something from a sermon I preached. (I most likely got the thoughts from some other brothers in the ministry.)

While his son “was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Tears of joy streamed down his face. “The father expresses his complete reconciliation and acceptance of his son publicly – and he does this before the prodigal has uttered a word of confession” (Art Just, Concordia Commentary on Luke, pg. 601).

The father does not care what anyone thinks about his behavior. Let his fellow villagers see him running with his robes hiked up. Let them consider his action beneath him and foolish. So what if a wealthy man “with flowing robes never runs anywhere [because] to do so is humiliating,” undignified, shameful (Kenneth Bailey, Poet and Peasant, 181). And so what if his son had been a disgraceful brat - even wishing his father dead when he demanded the inheritance! Their thoughts, the rags on the back of his barefoot son, the wasted inheritance – none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered was the joy of finding his son who “was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (15:24).

Dear brothers and sisters, that is a picture of your Lord and Savior. While we were still a long way off, God came down from heaven to seek and save us (Luke 19:10), to rescue us, to give Himself for us – His lost sons and daughters.

And in saving us, God allows Himself to be publicly humiliated and shamed and mistreated. The fellow villagers were disgusted as they wondered “What kind of noble father would run to his bratty, rebellious son?” But what kind of Almighty and Holy God hangs in weakness on a cross as a criminal?

What kind of God? The kind who is like the father running through the village. The True God who wants everyone to see His costly love. He wants everyone to know His love so deep for sheep who love to wander. He refuses to hide His reconciliation with His lost ones. If the bystanders think His actions are beneath Him and foolish, oh well. Their thoughts, the rags of your sin, the blood on your feet from wandering wicked paths – none of that matters to God. The only thing that matters is the joy of finding you, His child, who was lost.

And then Jesus celebrates, this man who receives sinners and eats with them (Luke 15:2). But it is not just Jesus alone with the found sinner. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit celebrate over your salvation. And this Triune joy overflows to the angels of God as they rejoice in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10). For Christ fulfills the Father’s will to raise you up at the Last Day (John 6:39). That is the love of your Heavenly Father for you – like the father in the parable – throwing a great banquet and inviting many.

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