Friday, June 13, 2014

A Father’s Care

"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:20-24

A Father’s Care
It seems almost impossible that anyone can go through life without believing there is God. But a similar, if not greater tragedy, is to go through life with a wrong picture or concept of God.  What is God really like? Jesus reveals the Father for us in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Some say it should be titled the Parable of the Father because it shows us the right picture or concept of the Father.  Jesus shows us the Father cares for His children. There is God as He is and then there is God as you and I see and understand Him.  It is interesting that the greatest problems Jesus encountered were those who carried their own picture of what and who they thought about God.  Jesus drew the outcasts, publicans and sinners like a magnet.  Why? Because the Father is one who cares.
He is like the shepherd who leaves the 99 and goes after the one, until He finds it.  He is the Shepherd in Psalm 23 who … Provides, Leads, Guides, Comforts, Prepares, and Anoints forever.  He is like the father who has two sons, one living away and one at home. He welcomes home the wayward son and who pleads with the other son to forgive.  The point is to give us the correct concept of a Father who cares for all His children.

A Father’s Concern
It’s hard to watch your children struggle.  We want to take away their pain and yet realize that it is the great teacher.  The son in the parable of the prodigal son, comes to his father and says in essence, "Dad, it appears that you're going to live a long while yet and I've been waiting a long time for my inheritance. I don't want to wait any longer for it, so give it to me now. I can't wait for you to die."
We would be quick to say that he deserved what he got. But that's the way we see it when it is not our own children.  Who do you think suffered the most – the father or the son? Every parent knows the answer to that question. The son may have suffered, but nothing compared to what the father was going through.  The Father grieves over the sin of his children.

A Father’s Compassion
While still in the pigpen, the son considers all that his father's servants have to eat.  The non-Christians get along better in life than Christians who are running away from God.  No one on earth is a miserable as a Christian backsliding into the world.  The son saw himself as "not worthy". Why did he ever think he was worthy? The truth is we were never worthy on our own. Our worth comes only through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ.  That's why the Father receives us in His love, mercy, and grace, regardless of how far we've gone.  He bathes and cleanses us from the filth of the world and restores us as sons and daughters as though we never left home.  Our Father gives us an example that any dad will find hard to live up to.  And yet, the more we can be like him the more we will bless our children.

Scripture to Claim
He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, Malachi 4:6

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