The God of Mercy (Part 2 of 3)

The Return Home | Luke 15:18-19

18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’

Man, have I been here before. This guy is so torn about about what’s been going on and how he hurt his beloved father that he’s rehearsing his “I’m sorry” speech. He needs to get every word right. He has been humbled by his brash decision and is willing to accept any kindness his Father may show him. Little does he know, his father has been watching and waiting.

20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

I can only imagine this guy’s thoughts as he walked towards his home and saw his father running at him with arms open wide. “What is this? What is he doing? Does he not recognize me? Maybe he is mistaking me for my brother? Does he not remember what I have done to him?” It’s obvious that he is confused because, despite his joyful reception, he still begins his speech.

The Celebration | Luke 15:21-24

21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[b] 22 But the father said to his servants,[c] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Imagine the relief his son was feeling. He was sure that he was too broken to be fixed, that he had hurt his father too much to be accepted and he couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, the father honored his son with fine robes given to weary travelers, a ring to signify his sonship, and shoes to signify his status. Remember: this man gave up that right to sonship in the beginning. He walked away never wanting to look back, but without a second thought his father, God, receives him, mends his wounds, and celebrates his return.

Application

Contrary to popular belief, God doesn’t strike down sinful people when they walk into a church, which is good news because I’m a screw up. The amazing thing about God is that it doesn’t matter. Praise God for that! Praise God that he sought us out with the same focus as the men and women in these parables. Praise God that he made a way to restore our relationships that were severed. It’s amazing to serve a God who pursues us even in our sin.

“8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans” 5:8

If you’ve been running, I want to challenge you today to stop. Turn around and come home. God is waiting as the prodigal’s father did, with arms open, ready to run and bear hug you. What are you waiting for? Turn around and run to Him!

Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.
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Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.