The younger son doesn’t get what he deserves. And that’s the point. This popular parable paints a picture of our Amazing Father’s Amazing Grace. But who does the older son represent?
John the Baptist serves as a transitional bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. His purpose is to prepare the way for the Lord, to prepare God’s people for God’s Presence. My brothers and sisters, are we ready for Christmas? Are we prepared for the Lord? Are we ready to follow the Way or are we still going our own way? We may have prepared our homes for company, but have we prepared our hearts for Christ? Let’s not merely celebrate the presents under the tree, but the Presence of the Lord. Who came and dwelled among us.
After the miraculous catch of fish, Jesus calls Peter and the others to (metaphorically) catch people — that they also may follow Christ. In response to the grace of Christ, let’s respond with faith in Christ. Since we’ve been caught by God’s amazing grace, let’s seek to catch others — with God’s amazing guidance.
What Does It Mean to Get Ready for Christmas? Too often, in our American society it means preparing to celebrate the presents… instead of celebrating the Presence (of the Lord). John the Baptist’s mission was to prepare his people for the Presence of the Lord. Before they could follow the Way (cf. Jn 14:6), they had to stop going their own way. They had to turn around, to turn back… to repent.
‘The Parable of the Two Lost Sons and Gracious Father’. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, right? Yet, it is likely a bit more accurate than “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” or “The Parable of the Lost Son”. All three main characters represent parties who are probably present when Jesus takes advantage of a teachable moment…
God’s grace is so amazing because, like the younger son, we don’t deserve it. We have all sinned and separate ourselves from God. And we cannot earn our reconciliation back to God simply by doing what we should have been doing in the first place. We need grace – unmerited, undeserved favor. We need grace that says: no matter what you’ve done, no matter how far you have fallen, no matter how many mistakes you have made, if you turn back to your Heavenly Father, He is not only waiting for you, He will run out to greet you, to throw His arms around you, and to kiss you tenderly as His child.
In the last of the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus from the cross, Christ quotes the first half of Psalm 31:5. This good ole Jewish song had become a good ole Jewish (bedtime) prayer. Just as Jews would pray this prayer, trusting their Heavenly Father to awaken them from sleep, Jesus also prays this prayer, trusting the Heavenly Father to awaken Him from death (cf. Lk 9:22, 18:31-33).
“A Prophet Is Not Without Honor Except In His Hometown.” Jesus makes this point at the beginning of His ministry. When the people in His hometown realized that He claimed to be much more than their homeboy, they rejected Him. Will we reject Him, too?
All of the tests were intended to disrupt Jesus’ faithful, obedient, submissive relationship to the Father. We too, led by the Holy Spirit, can rely on Scripture when tested…
If “faith” without works is dead (Jas 2:17, 26), did the “thief” on the cross have true faith if he had little time for works? I argue that — perhaps in response to the gracious intercession of Christ — the criminal has a change of heart and responds with a request — an appeal of (true) faith. Thus, Jesus responds accordingly