Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful for God's Amazing Love


“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.”

Luke 15: 20 (For whole story, please see Luke 15: 11-31)

Thanksgiving Day is almost here and I have been thinking about what I am thankful for. I heard a great sermon recently that helped me in this endeavor. Though the story is familiar, the pastor presented a new slant that sheds light on God's amazing love. I found myself very thankful to God once again.

Sermons usually focus on the prodigal son and his outrageous, selfish behavior. However, the pastor shared that the father in the story is the main character, not the prodigal son. Maybe instead of focusing on the son's rebelliousness, we should concentrate on the father's equally outrageous loving behavior. The pastor reminded us of the Old Testament Jewish law regarding disobedient sons. Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 tells us that rebellious sons are to be brought before the elders at the city gate so that they can be stoned to death. Gulp. This father doesn't do this. Instead he abstains from carrying out the punishment; rather he divvies up his estate--- giving the young man his share. This stupid son parties it up, runs through the money quickly, and ends up broke, starving, and in a horrible situation. The son decides to go home where even the hired help has it better, only to be met in the road by his father who lavishes him with love and throws a party in celebration.

Jesus tells us this picture of the loving father is a picture of God. We are born into sin from the moment we take our first breath of life. We continually choose ourselves and our plans instead of God's will. We deserve absolutely nothing, yet daily we wake up to the sun shining, fresh air to breathe and food to eat. We deserve the punishment of eternal separation from God. Instead he sends us Jesus who willingly pays our punishment by his own death so that we can know God once again.

What amazing, ridiculous love. As Thanksgiving approaches, I am grateful that I have such a Father God who loves me to such extreme lengths so I can have a relationship with him for all of eternity.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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