On Father’s Day, I would like to remind you of our Heavenly Father. Here is a short excerpt from a book that Jessica is working on writing…
The picture that many people have of God is one of a judge. They imagine God as an old man with a long white beard sitting in heaven waiting for the opportunity to smite someone with a bolt of lightening for doing something wrong.
The people in Jesus’ time knew God as Holy, as a Judge, as the Almighty. Because of their religious ideas, they were scared of God. But then, Jesus revealed a new side of God that no one had ever seen before.
“Our Father, which art in heaven…” was how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Do you know how revolutionary this phrase was?
Let’s look at the well-known story about the Prodigal Son. In this story, Jesus revealed a new facet of God’s character.
Once upon a time, there was a rich man who had two sons. The younger son went to his father and asked for his inheritance. This was unusual because usually a son would not receive his inheritance until after his father was dead. This son was basically saying, “Dad, I wish you were already dead.” In the Middle Eastern culture where honor is important, this story is immediately shocking. The listeners knew that the father would be justified in being extremely angry over such a deep insult.
But, the father was not offended. Instead he divided up his property and gave half of everything to the younger son as his inheritance.
Immediately the younger son packed his luggage and traveled to a far away country. He started to spend his money. Every night he would go out drinking and dancing. He bought drinks for everyone at the party. He wasted his money on gambling and drinking and wasteful living.
Suddenly, his money ran out. He had nothing. His friends left him.
He took the only job he could find, feeding pigs. He slept where the pigs slept. He ate the same garbage the pigs ate because he was starving. Any Jew listening to this story would have been horrified at such a terrible fate since Jews think pigs are unclean animals.
Suddenly the son had a good idea. He remembered that even the lowliest servants at his father’s home were eating and living much better than he was. He decided to go to his father and say, “Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be your son, to be in your family. I beg you, please allow me to be your servant and wash your clothes and clean your house.”
He started the long journey home. Slowly, he trudged through the dirt. He kept rehearsing in his mind, over and over again, the punishment his father would give him.
But, the father saw his son from afar off. What does this mean? The father was out looking for his son every day. He was eagerly waiting for him, longing for the day his youngest son would return. The moment the father saw his son coming from afar, he ran to him.
It is amazing that the father ran as fast as he could to meet his son. In that part of the world, an elderly man does not run, he walks in a slow and dignified manner. But, this love-struck father took the initiative to run towards his son.
The prodigal son fell at his father’s feet and began his preplanned speech to beg for mercy. The father totally ignored his son’s words, he lifted him to his feet, and began to hug him and kiss him.
The father calls his servants. “Bring my best Armani suit. Find my crocodile leather shoes. Bring my son’s favorite food. Put my Rolex on his wrist. Put a diamond ring on his finger.”
The father dressed his son in the finest clothes. Then he told the servants, “We are going to celebrate tonight. Let’s butcher our best calf. Bake some apple pie, that’s my son’s favorite. Hire some musicians, we are going to celebrate. Go invite all our friends to come.”
As the father continued to excitedly give instructions about the party, the one thing he could not stop doing was hugging and kissing his long lost son.
What was Jesus doing in this story? He was introducing God as the Father of hugs and kisses. No longer would God be a judge, now God is seen as a loving Father.
For Father’s Day, let’s remember what this story teaches us about our heavenly Father!
The Father’s Attitude
1. The Father sees the son from afar. No matter how far away from God we are, He still looks for us with merciful eyes.
2. The Father was moved with compassion. No matter what mistake you have made, God still loves you.
3. The Father came out to meet the Prodigal son. When we repent, God meets us where we are.
4. The Father hugged and kissed him. God welcomes us with open arms.
5. The Father put his best clothes on him. God takes our old dirty clothes and gives us robes of righteousness.
6. The Father put a ring on his finger. God restored the authority that has been lost.
7. The Father put shoes on his feet. God entrusts us to go preach the Gospel.
8. The Father restores his joy. Let us eat and be merry. The Christian life is full of joy.