Present and Accounted For
Jesus uses the above verses in Luke 15 to teach and remind us that our Father in heaven is like the father in this parable. He (God) not only loves us unconditionally; He understands us as well. The returning son needed to be celebrated, not lectured, because the waiting dad (like God) knew that his son could (spiritually) still hear his teaching, and would remember his love and integrity.
Even when we are absent from Him, we still hear the spirit of the Father inside of us. We remember the love. In fact, in our spirit we hear the voices of all the fathers that have influenced us even though they may have passed on. Sometimes we think we’ve gone too far from God to be forgiven, but He never stops waiting, hoping, praying for us to return.
The prodigal son demonstrates, for our edification, all the components of true repentance:
- He acknowledges in his mind that he did wrong by his father’s standards.
- He gets up and changes the direction of his life.
- He goes to his father and confesses his sins.
- He is ready to accept whatever consequences that his father might impose.
Our pastor is tired of absentee fathers getting so much publicity. Our father on high is never absent from us although we may become absent from Him:
John 14:15 - I will pray for God to send the comforter. The spirit of the father that was in me will also be in you. Everything that I said to you, I received from my father.
26 – the Comforter will be with you and send you what you need.
He will lead you and guide you. Our father is always with us.
Romans 8:1 There is - therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
It’s never too late to come back to God!
- Below is the older son’s reaction to his father’s celebration of the younger brother’s return. With which son do you most empathize, and why?
- Fatherhood, or being a father figure, is a complicated experience even with a single child to parent. Share how you have used scripture for guidance in this endeavor.
- Single mothers often have to stand in the gap for absent or deceased fathers. How has scripture or Christian men (family or not) been able to support you?
Luke 15:25-32 - Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore, his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
All Present and Accounted For
Pastor Bernard McNeill
June 21, 2020