Stories are powerful. They have an ability to move us in ways that a speech cannot hope to do. This is why so many people are drawn to Jesus’ parables. They have the ability to challenge us in a variety of ways. Luke 15 contains one of my favorite parables from Jesus. He tells a story about a father and his two sons. (If you don’t remember the details, I encourage you to stop and read it for yourself.)
This story is one of my favorites because it challenges me in a new way every time I read it. At times I am like the brother who obeys his father and gets angry when the younger brother is welcomed home. I discover that all of my striving for godliness is a masked attempt to put God in my debt. It’s as if I could somehow make God see that he owes me his love. Yet this story reminds me that my attitude actually separates me from God.
At other times, I feel like the younger son. I am deeply aware of my sin. I recognize the mess I have made of my life and come crawling back to God hoping he will forgive me. In those moments, I am astonished by God’s grace in my life. I am reminded that his love knows no bounds and he is always pursuing his wayward children.
However, this week’s sermon on Luke 15 taught me another lesson. Pastor Shane reminded us that Jesus became sin for us. He took on flesh and blood and walked among us. He knows what it is like to descend to the depths of human despair. Though he never sinned himself, he bore the weight of all sin when he hung on the cross. By doing this, Jesus showed us the way to the Father. More specifically, he opened the way to the Father for us all.
If you have time this week, I encourage you to read Luke 15 and listen to the sermon.(You can find it here) Consider your identity as a child of God. Recognize your position in relation to God. Most importantly, discover for yourself that Jesus Christ is THE WAY to the Father. The Father’s arms are open towards you. Remind yourself of this truth and live in joy this week!