by Dan Barber, Orillia Campus, Small Group Leader
Welcome to Day 15 of the 24 Day Devotion. So glad you’re joining us! Each day for 24 days as a church, we’re going to read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke and post a devotion on it.
If you’ve never read the Bible, we’re so glad you’re joining us. And if you read the Bible, we hope this helps you grow in your faith.
Need to catch up? Start at Luke 1 – Is The New Testament A Lie? and follow along. Today’s devotion is below.
READ Luke 15
Do you ever question what God is like?
I suppose most of us have, but I think Jesus gives us a glimpse into who God is, by telling us three stories.
In Luke 15, a crowd of people have come to hear Jesus teach. Well, actually, the “Tax collectors and other notorious sinners” were there to listen to Jesus, while the religious leaders known as Pharisees and teachers of the law were there to raise concerns that Jesus would associate with such people.
So Jesus, knowing full well the group dynamics playing out in front of him proceeds to share three stories. You may have heard of the first two, you most likely have heard of the third.
The first is about a sheep that is lost and isolated from the flock. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine safe sheep to search and rescue the lost one.
The second story is about a woman who loses a coin and searches desperately until she finds it. It was not only valuable but also had great sentimental value…possibly a wedding gift.
In the third story, Jesus describes the journey of a son, a prodigal son. A son who decided to take his inheritance, leave his family and live his life on his own terms.
This passage means a lot to me because I was that prodigal son.
I grew up with loving Christian parents and knew of God’s love for me. But as a teenager I turned my back on God, on my faith, on my family and friends and left home. Ironically, I left on the same day my family went to a family reunion.
For months we had no contact. I was living the way I wanted to but unfortunately, my reckless choices were causing my life to spiral out of control.
I was wasting my life.
About a year later, my family invited me for Thanksgiving dinner and I accepted. Afterwards, I asked my dad if I could move back home. Do you know what he did? He jumped out of his chair, gave me a big hug and said, “Yes, please come home.”
Weeks later, in the quiet of my room, I fell to my knees and surrendered my life to God. I asked for forgiveness for the way I lived and the choices I made.
And I committed my life to him.
The lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son, all reveal who God really is and how much he loves you. He loves you no matter what you have done.
Do you think you are beyond God’s love?
Do you think you have to make up for all you’ve done in the past?
So what can you do?
The prodigal son, (who represents the notorious sinners in the crowd) “came to his senses,” went to his father and sought forgiveness for his behaviour.
He repented. He changed direction.
He went from feeding and eating with pigs, to falling into his father’s arms.
Do you want to know what God is like? Just like that. He loves you. He will forgive you. He will welcome you and invites you to enjoy a relationship with him that will last forever.
What about the elder son? What was his problem? The elder son (who represents the Pharisees) was angry that his younger brother came home and was being celebrated for doing so. He had been the faithful son, always being obedient.
But the problem is, you can’t earn God’s favour. You can’t be good enough for God to love you. The elder son didn’t understand that faithful obedience was not a means to God love but a response to it.
Here’s the thing…there’s nothing that you can do that will cause God to love you any less, or love you anymore.
The younger son eventually learned that. The elder son never did. In the end, the prodigal son was reunited with his father. The elder son, it was revealed, never was.
Do you want to know what God is like? Look no further than this passage. If you think you are beyond God’s love, you’re not. If you think you have to earn God’s love, you can’t.If you think you are beyond God’s love, you’re not. If you think you have to earn God’s love, you can’t. Click To Tweet
If you’re a Christ follower, yes, live faithfully, obediently, but not in order to gain something but in response to God’s love for you.
If you’re far from God, still living your own life by your own rules, on your own terms, please know that God is still watching and waiting; and better yet, He wants to have a relationship with you.
God, thank you for loving me even though I don’t deserve it.
Thank you for pursuing me, watching for me and protecting me from myself, when I was far from you.
May my life reflect your love in the way I treat others today.