Author Topic: For Fathers Day  (Read 15 times)

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Offline Deborah

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For Fathers Day
« on: June 18, 2017, 11:49:41 AM »
The Fatherhood of God
Luke 15:11-24


"God is love" (I John 4:8 ) is a great 'soundbite', one familiar to most Christians. But what does it actually mean?

The young man in this parable wants his inheritance immediately so that he can 'do his own thing'. But in that culture, the implication of his request is that he desires his father's death. Then, by selling all of it immediately, he delivers a second blow to his father, effectively acting as if his father were already dead. The village observes such behaviour and is scandalised; the village will never forget. When he leaves, setting out into the big wide world, he has burnt all his boats; he will never be accepted back into the community.

But things go badly wrong, forcing him to return home in abject poverty and disgrace. There will be no welcome for him here. In order to reach his father's door, he will have to run the gauntlet of a mocking crowd - and then will probably be rejected by a father who has been offended beyond recall.

What is a father to do in such circumstances? (This is the Middle East, remember, where even today parents will sometimes kill their own children in order to maintain the family 'honour'.) What he 'should' do is either explode with fury, or remain cold and aloof. This is what the first hearers of this parable would have expected. And this is what the son is expecting - he has already prepared a grovelling apology, knowing that his only hope (and a faint one, at that) of re-admission to the family home is as a minion of the lowest possible status. "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." (verses 18,19)

The son enters the village. A hundred condemning, hostile eyes are on him. But his father has also spotted him. Abandoning all his dignity and with no thought for his own reputation, the old man runs down the street with arms outstretched to meet his son and to offer him a very public reconciliation. And he achieves his aim: no longer is the young man the focus of attention. A hundred eyes are staring at the self-humiliation of his father; fifty jaws are dropped. And no-one is more surprised than the son himself, whose well-rehearsed plea comes out more as a protest! Surely his father has made some mistake? "I am no longer worthy to be called your son..."

We come home in rags, and our Father not only clothes us but dresses us richly in robes of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
We come home hungry, and are not just fed but feasted in the abundance of His house (Psalm 36:7-9).
We are received not as servants but as beloved sons.
"See what great love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God!" (I John 3:1)

Our status as 'children of God' is not our birthright but our Father's gift. Let us accept it humbly and gratefully - and then rejoice together.


"God has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace." (II Timothy 1:9)