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April 30 | Luke 15:11-24


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


The Riches a Loving Family Provides

by Julie Ogg


The Parable of the Prodigal Son is familiar to many of us. It’s so familiar we may have lost sight of the amazing freedom offered by Jesus in this parable. It’s important to remember that the question that prompted the telling of the three “lost” parables stems from Jesus’ response to the muttering of the religious leaders.


Luke 15:1-2 reads, "Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear him.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'" Jesus’ response to that apparent accusation was to tell the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Coin, and Son. Each parable relates the pain of losing something precious and the joy of finding it. Let’s consider the prodigal son.


This younger son is obviously out of line. He shows great disrespect to his father by asking for his inheritance while his father is still living. In Jewish culture at this time, it would similar to saying, “I wish you were dead, so I could have what is coming to me." Not only that, but after he had received his inheritance, he left his father’s household and set off for a far country. Jesus'

audience would have found this gasp-worthy—an abhorrent affront.


The younger son did not fare well with his new situation. Everything he thought would bring him freedom and happiness failed him as he realized that life with his father, even as a servant, would be better than his current life. He decided to return home and fall on the mercy of his father.


Verse 20 contains a remarkable scene. Remember, Jesus is describing what the Kingdom of God is like to people who had just complained about his welcome of sinners. "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."


This is Jesus’ welcome to the sinner who returns. This is his welcome to each of us who return again and again after expecting something or someone other than a relationship with Jesus to bring us freedom.


The father in this account is eagerly watching for his son’s return. He saw him coming while he was still a long way off. Our heavenly Father is watching for our return. As A. W. Tozer writes in his book, The Pursuit of God, “Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.”


Titus 3:4-7 reads, "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." Take joy this day in knowing that you are loved by a compassionate and gracious Father who forgives and renews us day after day. Come home!


PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Help us recognize that wealth isn't worth giving up family. There is freedom in the loving comfort Jesus provides. Loving family will welcome and forgive us our foolish ways. Just as Jesus does. Amen.






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