Leave the Pigs
Background Story: Often Jesus taught the crowds in parables using stories to teach them the deep truths about who God is.
Read Luke 15:11-24
There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“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.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Big Idea: God is a Good Father.
Maybe you have a kind father who is a great example. Maybe you have a dad that is harsh, not present, never satisfied, or completely absent. Our view of God can be warped by human examples. Humans let us down because they are imperfect sinners that need a Savior just like we do.
Jesus shows us a new kind of father in Luke 15. The son grew up with everything, yet he is never satisfied and goes out searching for something to complete him. He tries it all spending all of the money his dad has given him on living a wild life. After a while, he hits rock bottom finding himself eating the food that was meant for the pigs. When he decides to go back to his dad, he expects his dad to treat him the way he deserves. It would be fair for his dad to kick him out after the way the son treated him. If the son is lucky, he is hoping he can talk his dad into letting him work as a servant so he can have clean clothes, decent food, and a roof over his head.
But what we see this father do is extraordinary! When the father sees his son approaching a long way off, does he wait with an attitude hoping to teach him a lesson or hear him beg for forgiveness? No. The father runs to him! He runs with arms wide open celebrating that the son he loves has returned.
When we fail, our natural inclination is to hide from God fearing that He is mad or ready to shame us. We can live in that pig slop for a long time worried what God might think of us.
But the truth is, God is standing at His door waiting for you to come to Him, not to punish you, but to restore you. When you approach Him, He isn’t getting ready to smack you down but is running ready to lift you up into His arms. Like this son, we come to Him and confess our sin, our shame and our failures. And unlike our human comparisons, He will wipe us clean from our muddy mess and restore us into relationship with Him.