Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
John Newton, Amazing Grace
Anyone who has a bad habit of losing things, knows how frustrating a habit that can be. Whether the lost items were socks (why does that one always disappear?), apartment keys, or a paycheck, we all of us have lost something valuable to us at one time or another. Maybe that’s why we can relate to the stories Jesus told in Luke 15. A shepherd lost a sheep, and leaves his 99 other sheep to find the one he lost. A woman lost a coin, valued at 10% of her net worth, and turned her house upside to find it. And lastly, a father lost a son. But in this last story, the father of two didn’t misplace his younger son, the son misplaced the father. He lost his way and as a result almost lost his life. The older son also lost his way by thinking he was better than his brother. And this parable is a picture of our spiritual journey.
The Context: A Loving Father & The Children Who Rejects Him.
At the beginning of the story we are confronted with an ugly scene. The younger son says: ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’
Today, just like in the time of Jesus, heirs didn’t receive an inheritance until the one giving the inheritance died. This son was saying: “I don’t care to learn from you or receive anything from you but your money. You’re dead to me already, so just give me my loot now because I’m tired of waiting for you to die!” That’s harsh. But, remarkably, the father gives the son what he wants..
The Crisis: Life Comes At Your Fast
Most of us think we know more about the world when we’re teenagers than when we get older and have to actually start “adulting”. That’s the scenario the younger son is faced with here.
“Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing.”
Jesus told this story to pinpoint our problem. The human crisis, collectively, is that we have rejected God and our inheritance, to find life on our own. And like this younger son in the story, have found ourselves empty and in a world that has nothing to offer our famished souls.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’
The son’s plan at this point was to just get a job working for his dad. He had spent all of his inheritance, so he was just trying to survive, yet the Father had a different plan in mind..
“But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.”
The father unconditionally loved his son, so he accepted him back. But the older son objected to the Father’s acceptance of his younger brother, and in doing so reveals that he too, though a rule follower, is lost. In response to the older son’s objections, the Father simply said: “But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
The point is that we were all lost, but have the Father’s love available to us if we turn to him.
Jesus made his purpose very clear: For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
How did Jesus accomplish this? Jesus taught like none other, and lived like none other, and yet the work that accomplished saving us was that he died on the cross and resurrected from the dead. Jesus, explained his work in one of the most famous Bible Scriptures:
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
The next step in the habit of Gospel-Centered Devotion is to trust and believe that we are all like the sons of the father in the parable Jesus told. We’re either selfish and driven by our desires like the younger son, or proud and driven by self-righteousness like the older son. The good news is that regardless of where we are, God, is like the Father of the story who went out to search for either son and bring them into love, warmth and support.
The gospel is good news available for everyone. God, who is perfectly holy, has provided a way for sinners to be saved through Jesus. If we will put our faith in Christ alone, believing that he died for our sins and God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Rom 4:24-25; 10: 5-13).
Have you made the decision to trust Jesus as your Savior, and Lord? If not, please do so right now. You can express that desire in the following prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, then you can pray this prayer right now and Christ will come into your life, as He promised. If you made that decision, let us know about it so we can help you grow. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you have already made that decision, you can still take the next step of meditating on this question:
Are you more like the younger son (chasing pleasure outside of God) or the older son (proud, and seeking approval through rule following)?
In what ways do I need to be reminded of the fact that Jesus came to seek and save the lost?