Free to celebrate
People who love Jesus have lots to celebrate.
We have received God’s love and we have been forgiven.
Have you heard the story of The Wasteful Son?
Not only was he wasteful, but he was also unloving, ungrateful, disrespectful and very selfish.
One day, in effect, he told his father that he was fed up waiting for him to die, and that he wanted to receive his inheritance now.
It was almost as if he said to his own father: "I wish you were dead."
Now, the amazing thing is that the father gave him what he wanted.
It did not take long for the son to book a ticket and travel far away.
And he wasted all his father’s money:
Expensive hotels, expensive clothes, expensive bars, expensive entertainment.
He had everything he wanted - until the money ran out.
He went from everything to nothing.
In desperation he accepted the only job he could find, working on a pig farm.
Conditions were really hard and he could not make enough to live on.
Then one day, he came to his senses:
He decided to go home.
He decided to confess his sin and to ask his father for mercy.
How would you have responded - if you had been the father?
The father forgave his son - and declared a celebration.
Yes - they had a barbeque and a barn dance!
This story is based on a parable - told by Jesus.
You can read the original version below.
God wants us to understand how much he loves us.
He wants us to understand how willing he is to forgive us - if we return to him.
And he wants us to know that there is always a celebration whenever a sinner turns to him.
There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them.
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. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
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! 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.” 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 round him and kissed him.
The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:11-24 (NIV)