Read Luke 15:20-24

When we read this story we think, “How nice… His dad ran out to meet him and was really nice.”  However, when Jesus told this story those who heard it completely shocked.  In Israel, in those days, NO father would run out of the house for anyone.  It just wasn’t done.  The father would wait inside, and visitors would have to seek permission to enter his presence.  In addition, for the father to leave his house and run to his son would have been considered disgraceful.  Grown men didn’t run.  And finally, it would have been unheard of for the father to do these disgraceful acts for a son who had rejected his home and family.

The scene Jesus described was scandalous.  It was outrageous.  It didn’t line up with the normal way his audience assumed the world worked.  That is exactly what Jesus wanted people to know about their Heavenly Father.  God isn’t simply waiting for the lost to return to Him.  He actively pursuers His wayward sons and daughters.  He has gone to extreme measures to redeem His people.  His love and acceptance aren’t constrained by the world’s view of what is acceptable.  His grace breaks through.  It is extraordinary!

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of three similar stories Jesus tells.  Each of these stories describes a person looking for something that has been lost.  A shepherd looking for his lost sheep.  A woman looking for her lost coin.  A father running out to his son.  Notice it isn’t the responsibility of the lost to be found.  The sheep doesn’t want to search for the shepherd.  The coin doesn’t find the woman.  The son doesn’t run to the father.  A central message of Christianity is that we serve a God who is pursuing us.  We are accepted because He sent His son.  We are loved because He first loved us!  In this way, we are invited to respond to the offer that is already there.

Is it possible that we don’t always appreciate how amazing the gospel is?

God owes us nothing, and yet He gave everything.  Ask God to open your eyes to see His love in a new and fresh way today.

Day 5 of 7 from the 2017 Mission Discovery Devotional