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How Our Father Feels


Luke 15: 11-24

When you come to chapter 15 of Luke, the Pharisees and scribes have for some time been trying to discredit Jesus in the eyes of the people.

So, here in Luke 15, when they see all these tax gatherers and sinners coming near to Jesus…and listening to Him they (the Pharisees and scribes) grumble and say, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So, they try to discredit Jesus and Jesus responds.

You see, in the OT scriptures, which the Pharisees and scribes claimed to have a great knowledge of, when it came to God being a “father” they thought of Him as being a “father” primarily in reference to Him as being the “originator”…as the one who gave Israel their beginning.

So this concept of God as a loving Father was somewhat foreign to them.

But that is not the concept of God that Jesus had.

Jesus used the term “Father” 107 times in the Gospel of John.

Jesus saw God as a Father…but not just a Father…but a caring Father who wanted his children back.

 So Jesus, in order to try and teach these Pharisees, and in order to point out their error to the multitudes, teaches this parable and presents God as a Father.

So, this morning, let’s look at this parable…and let’s look at the “father”…and let’s learn some things about our heavenly Father…and how He feels about a son who leaves home…and is lost…and who is found.

And let me tell you what I suspect.

Look at verses 11-13. We have already read them so we won’t read them again but the first thing I want you to notice is when the boy left home the father didn’t stop him.

But the point is, our Father doesn’t want us to leave home; it is heartbreaking for Him, but if we choose to leave He will not stop us.

But keep this in mind.

So, this boy leaves his father…and many fathers in this situation would say, “You leave, don’t you come back.”

And notice verse 20. It says: “While he was a long way off his father saw him.

We understand that don’t we?

But you watch.

That’s the picture Jesus paints here of our “Father”…He is always watching…hoping we will come home.

And notice what He feels in verse 20. It says, “He felt compassion for him.”

And, notice what it says next. It says that He, “stubbornly stayed in the house and waited for that boy to come to him”…after all, “the boy left…not me…no way I am going to run to him.”

That is not what it says. It says that the father “ran and embraced him.”

I remember when my son  was at boot camp…and we went down for his graduation…we were finally going to get to see him.

And that is the way God feels.

Remember when the soldiers came home from Desert Storm?

You see, what is important is to get to your boy as quick as you can.

And it says, “He embraced him.”

And the verse says, “He kissed him.”

Do you know what this father did that the Pharisees didn’t do…and what some of us don’t do?

And notice something else; vs. 19.

We some times will allow someone to come back…but things aren’t going to be like they once were.

True story…J.W. Rosenberry…Methodist minister…young man on train…nervous, I am a minister is there something you would like to talk about….he and his father had literally come to blows. Boy left…change of heart…wrote mom…said….the train runs right by the farm…and if dad will let me come home…just tie a towel around the tree….looked like snow had fallen…sheets on fences…in trees…last image G. W Rosenberry saw was this boy running up the road toward that farm with his suitcase in his hand.

That is the kind of father we have.

Now, real quickly let me mention some things that you and I may need to do.

First, we may need to alter our view of God.

But do you know what we struggle with. I think we struggle to believe that people could matter that much to God.

Some of us may need to change our view of God.

The second thing some of us may need to do is alter our view of sinners.

Do you know who Luke 15 was written for?

What that means for us as His church is that we are in the business of trying to get His children home.

And then 3rd, some of us need to realize that our Father will meet anyone at the altar.

I cannot understand a heart that will say no to a love…to a father like that.

I do not know any reason in the world why anyone shouldn’t come back to the Father today.