Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Prodigal Father- Part 4

Luke 15:20- But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

So today we're looking at the 4th incredible verb in that passage- here of course it says "threw" his arms around him, but in another version it simply says EMBRACED and that's what we'll go with today.

I asked my young Ukrainian friends what they thought the antonym for EMBRACED would be and they almost unanimously thought the opposite of EMBRACED is REJECTED.  There was at least one response of "pushed away" which is pretty good too and really, says the same thing.

How hard is rejection?  It's something we've all dealt with and I think it's one of the most powerful tools in the enemy's arsenal.  I've struggled with it all of my life.

While surfing the internet in preparation for this sermon I ran across an atheist website that presented a terribly negative commentary on this parable.  In the writer's opinion the whole story is "jacked up" because everything about it is "unfair" in his view.  The writer felt like God (represented by this father) is weak because he let the boy off the hook and the outcome is unfair to the older brother.  I'd like to ask that writer a series of "what if" questions.  What if it were your son?  What if it were you!?  Would you really be that hardcore and reject your own son (assumed dead but now discovered to be alive!!) and tell him, "nope, sorry son- you had your chance and you blew it.  Depart from me because I never knew you"?

Now that phrase reminds us of something, doesn't it?  In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus describes how, at the end of it all, many who call Him "Lord" will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but the ones who do the will of God will enter.  He goes on to say that they will attempt to justify their lives by saying, "hey, we called you Lord, we did great things in your name"...and He (Jesus) will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me".

Chilling words, indeed.  I think the key though is in Jesus' first phrase (at least in this version), that is, "I never knew you....".  Those who will enter are those who are known (and know) Jesus.  The ones in relationship with Him.  Get that? It's more about who we know than what we know (or did, or didn't do).

What the young son did with his inheritance; how he obtained it in the first place (which is pretty despicable if it really means that he's wishing his father were dead already as a lot of sermons suggest); the kind of disgusting life he led and how that reflected on the good family name............. all that is irrelevant because of the relationship!  It's the relationship, dummy!  This is the father's son.  That's all that matters.  That's why the father EMBRACED him instead of rejecting him.

While thinking about this verb, EMBRACED, I thought of another verse in Matthew- this one a little off the wall, maybe:

Matthew 23:37 says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

You are NOT rejected by God the Father.  He wants to embrace you.

In Rembrandt's famous painting, The Return of The Prodigal- notice the father's hands- one is larger and more masculine looking, the other smaller, softer and more receptive...suggesting both mothering and fathering.  Our Heavenly Father wants to gather you like a hen gathers her brood under her wing!

1 comment:

vickie (clinton's sister) said...

I am broken... He is my all...