Thursday, March 21

Thursday, March 21 

Scripture: Luke 15:22-24

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.”     

Some thoughts:

     This part of the parable is about restoration and forgiveness. In it we learn something of the father’s heart and focus regarding his son’s escapade. Notice the father [God] barely responds to the son’s words of confession and in fact cuts off his son’s forgiveness speech in the middle. The father then negates the son’s “hired hand” self-designation by calling for a rich ceremonial robe which would be given to an honored guest, giving the son a ring an heir would own, and sandals which only a free man would wear. There is no dwelling on the son’s past foolishness, poor decisions, personal greed, moral failure, and so forth. No “I’m glad you finally learned your lesson! What have you learned from your mistakes? It’s about time you wised up.” None of that.

     The father completely restored the son’s position and identity. His coming home called for a celebration! I wonder if the calf was being fattened in anticipation of the son’s returning home. The father’s love for his son never wavered even while the son was deep in debauchery. The father’s words focused on the bottom line of what had taken place. He did not dwell on the surface events of the past, but went to the heart of the issue, the restored soul of his son. Sons and daughters need their father’s affirmation. Notice his words of ‘dead and alive’ and ‘lost and found’ also apply to one’s life before and after coming to Christ. You’ll notice the father’s celebration here affirms Jesus’ words in the lost sheep parable of the great joy in heaven over a sinner who repents and returns to God.

      Repentance brings God joy (Zeph 3:17). Do you ever think of God “rejoicing” over you when you turn from your self-will to his will and repent? Are there some “prodigals” for whom you have been praying a long time? Keep it up. They may not have made it to the pigpen yet. Keep watching the horizon and get ready to run! Your heavenly Father did that for you.

Music: “And the Father Will Dance Over You” New England Conservatory Alumni Choir

Prayer: Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you. Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say: ‘Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.’ Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience. Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work now and forevermore, Amen.      —Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997, from Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers, p.99