Wednesday, December 14, 2011

God Wears Asics

I think about the prodigal a lot, Luke 15:11-31.  The more I live in and live this story the more I believe it is at the center of the gospel.  I think it should be the preacher's first sermon and the preacher's last.  To rehash... the boy gives his father a death wish by asking for his inheritance early. He journeys far away and burns it all on idiocy.  He ends up finding himself jealous of mud-wallowing pigs and so plots to return home broken and repentant, to beg for a position, not at his father's table but in the bunkhouse.  He makes that fearful journey home and...

 “...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.

You, the reader, knows why the prodigal returns.  You have access to his inner thoughts, "I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants."  But the father has no idea! For all the father knows, the boy may be on his way home to demand more money or curse him.  All the father knows is that in the distance a silhouette of his son approaches and so he...

Yells,  "Is that you, you ungrateful brat?  Who said you were welcome here!"
 Says, "Hey Mother! Look who is coming.  Don't you go crying now.  Let's wait and see what he wants."
"Security!  Please escort him off the property.  He is not my son!"
He stood with arms crossed and when his son reached him he looked down and said sternly, "So, are you here because you've repented? Because, if you haven't then you are not welcome here.  If you have, then you are welcome but you have some proving to do."

No! Read it one more time:  “...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."   The father's love for his child was not based on the son's repentance.  He loved his son even if he were still in sin, for all he knew he was.

God hates sin because it destroys but he loves you!  ALWAYS! ...when you are good, when you repent and come groveling home, when you are blatantly sinning.  That should blow your mind.  It should make you cry! So if you are reading this and are choosing sin, trust me, it will break you and those you love but GOD DOES NOT LOVE YOU ANY LESS NOW THAN HE EVER HAS!  When he sees you, no matter where you are, he runs, throws his arms around you, and kisses you! (Yes! I'm crying!)


  1. I love Peter Rollins' rewrite on this parable in The Orthodox Heretic. Have you read it? Miss seeing you, buddy. If I'm in Abilene one day we should grab a bite.

  2. Hey Matt! Peter Rollins is great and if you are A-town definitely look me up.

  3. The center of the gospel? I could not agree more. Once I began to understand this story, I began to realize that God never turned from me but that I turned from him. I learned that he never quit loving me, never quit hoping in me, never quit waiting to run to me when I finally decided to come home. I now refer to the parable as "the story of the loving father" because I see it as being much more about God than about the wayward son. How I cling to this story as the story of my life and the story of my joyous hope.


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