I read John 15:11-24 this morning as part of my devotional. John 15:11-24 is about the Prodigal son. "ahhh.." you say.. You seem to know this one...you say...
At first I also thought, 'not this story again!' As I've read it plenty times over. Buttttt God does a new thing like always, and gives us new insight in a passage that we would've read over and over and over! Amen and glory to that!! :)
So here it goes!
The passage says:
11 Jesus continued: “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." (From the New International Version).
I felt like the Lord said that it can be seen from the point of view of being about Jesus, that once upon a time, we went away from the Father (since the beginning in the garden), but we were found again via the blood of Jesus (redeemed, rather!)
Jesus built the bridge that enables us to crossover to go to the Father (God). It is now possible to have the choice to go to back to the Father. Oh how wonderful it that? So wonderful!! So wonderful.
Let's look at the text a bit more closely, and see what it's saying to us:
After squandering everything at this point,the son began to be in need (verse 14).
Have you ever gasped for air? Like in a swimming pool and you want to get back to the top? Or you ran a distance and were out of breath that you needed to stop to catch the next one? That's what I'm guessing the son felt like at this point: in need to breath properly again, without gasping.
Verse 17 says he came to his senses. It finally hit him. It was a heart moment.
It finally clicked.
He had a moment of enlightenment, a moment of humility, all intertwined to make one. It all starts in the head and heart, then slowly shifts towards our facial expression, which changes to that of sorrow, mimicking the inside process. It's a moment of realization, that through it all, we had hurt God, and the people around us.
We see that after this moment, the son decides that he will go back to his Father (verse 18).
He says Father. He acknowledges His Father.
He knows that he can apologize to Mr. & Ms such and such too, but at this point, it's all about God, the Father.
We're reminded of David, who said, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight" Psalm 51:4.
He realizes that it was the Father, all along, who was the beginning and end of life, streams of living water, peace, comfort, and breath. And in abundance.
Verse 18 says that he set out, meaning, he took action.
Then he got up and went to his Father (verse 20).
Yesterday I read a quote that said, "If there were a thousand steps between us and God, He will take all but one. He will leave the final one to us. The decision is ours." (Author Unknown) (it was in the context of running to God as our refuge :) He wants us to take that leap of faith towards Him, knowing that His arms are always wide open, when we choose to come to Him.
Verse 20 says it was to his Father that he went to. Not people. His Father :)
And what did his Father do?
He had compassion (verse 20) on his son, onto his most precious child :) Amen ♡
He even ran to His son (verse 20).
He even threw His arms around him (verse 20).
No, He didn't nonchalantly touch him, even though just a touch from God is greater than anything in this world, but instead He THREW His arms. He THREW them...do you get it? I can't get enough! :) He's like: "my son! You're back! You're back!! Welcome back!! You came back! To me! To me! Your Father! I love You, son...I love you. My son..."
And when you think that that was it,
It says, 'and kissed him' (verse 20).
How wonderful is that?
But then...the Father says 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him." (verse 22).
You see, that verse starts with the word, 'BUT'. I mean...come on, how amazing can He get?
The son goes humbly before the Father to ask for forgiveness, and I can only imagine he's in tears, and in ragged clothes. Since he was feeding the pigs, he probably smells really bad, is very muddy, but could care less to ask for a place to shower because he's running back, as he is, running from a journey of turmoil, leaving it all behind, all in the past, ready to set forth a new path, even if he has to start from the bottom because he knows that his Father's place is much better than anything that's out there.
Just like David said, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." Psalm 84:10
That sentence begins with 'But'.
'But' means that the son was probably expecting an alternate response. It can only be that reason isn't it? That a moment were it was meant to be a point of shame and condemnation, the Father does everything but. He does that which is contrary to it, to that point that He doesn't waste a minute in saying, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him." (verse 22).
Shout it on the rooftops! The son is back! He's back! Amen! Amen! Hallelujah! He's back Abba, He's back to You!
This is similar to The Parable of the Lost Coin in Luke 15:8-10, which says,
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (NIV)
Like this picture, when Jesus sees you, He takes His robe off, and exchanges His for yours.
And the Father wasn't done yet, He says, "Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet" (Verse 20).
A ring on a hand was a mark of wealth and dignity. A ring was seen as a sign of favor, just like in Genesis 41:39-43 (where Pharaoh was speaking to Joseph. You can read the story of Joseph in Genesis 37).
Genesis 41:39-43 says,
"Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my place., and all my people are to submit to your orders...."I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck."
We also see this in Esther 8:2, where "The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai."
To 'present' something is to give something to someone officially or formally.
He didn't fling it. No.
He gratefully presented it. Honorably, and respectfully.
A signet ring looks like this:
In Haggai 2:20, The Lord tells Zerubbabel (the governor of Judah) that He will make him like His signet ring, because He had chosen him.
We now see this great significance our Father puts on His children.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9
In Luke 15: 23, the Father gives orders to bring the fattened calf and to have it killed. He says, "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 (Verse 23-24).
Son, daughter, God has chosen you too. You are His.
Begin to Celebrate.
From the previous article on how you are set free in Christ, some might have wondered what happened with David. So what happens after David was forgiven for sleeping with Bethsheeba?
We often tell stories and end at the part that appeals to the audience. We definitely like stories where there is a negative dramatic end, but with God, we know that He can turn things around and He is able to do all things!
Like I said before, God forgives us, and praise God that we don't have to bear the weight of our sins. We do however, and at times, have to bear the consequences because it would've affected others or things in our lives.
In 2 Samuel 12: 14 Nathan tells David that his son (whom was to be born from the affair) would die.
David fasted and went to his house. He spent nights lying on the ground.
In our times of restoration, we'll have to spend time on the ground, praying.
Pray to God, and ask Him for forgiveness, to repent, and to restore you.
This is what it means to go humbly before Him, to surrender to Him, to give Him your all.
On the 7th day, the child died.
When in restoration, take it one day at a time.
For David, it took 7 days. For some it will take 1 day, or 7, or 1 month, or even a 6 months to years. Just know that God is with you when you go through the process and that it will come to an end.
Isaiah 43: 2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
David hears this and he gets up from the ground, washes, puts on lotions, and changes his clothes. He goes up to the house of the Lord and he worships.
David worshipped God.
In our times of restoration, we need to come to a place of worship.
Like the post I wrote about Jesus feeding the 5'000, don't fool yourself into thinking that you have all the strength to do it all, or that you need some perfect heart to come to God. Go as you are, and worship Him, give Him all that you have, He'll accept it.
Don't we praise God that He still accepts what we have to offer even though it's not "good enough"? Praise God!
Worship is a place of surrender to God. Don't be fooled with associating worship with outward appearances and this full-on dancing. We all have our days to jump up and down. Just go as you are, and worship, sincerely.
David's servants ask him, "why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!" (2 Samuel 12:21).
David answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."
David decided to walk, after it was all said and done with his child.
When in restoration, what's done is done, accept what's done, and move on, walk. In Jesus' words, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!"
"David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went with her and lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; and because the Lord loved him, He sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidah (which means Loved by the Lord)." 2 Samuel 12: 24-25
When in restoration, you will be comforted.
You are not alone.
It may seem like you're the only one going through this, but God will comfort you, and He will bring someone/something to comfort you. God is faithful.
"For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Isaiah 49:13b
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—" John 14:16
When in restoration, God will replace what you lost.
Isaiah 43:18-19a "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!"
The sun will finally come out, and something better will come your way. He is doing a new thing. He might not replace exactly what was lost, but we know that God will provide even greater for you! Amen!
And we all know that the son of David and Bathsheba was Solomon whom they called the wisest man who ever lived, and how among the many nations, there was no king like him.
God can birth something out of "nothing".
"Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed." John 8:36
When I was about 13 years old, my parents gave me money to go rent a video to watch (yup, back when we used VCR's!).
I stopped by the supermarket to maybe get something to eat, but all I remember is that the next thing I did was see some colored gel pens that I liked and decided to take them.
Yes, take them. Not buy them, but take.
I put them in my jacket pocket, and put the packet in the store by the shoe section.
A lady asks me about the empty packet and I tell her I didn't know where the pens were. Being a bad liar, I 'fessed up and gave her the pens.
She took me to the manager and they called my rents.
Of course you know what happened there...
This is like the story of David.
As I read an article I saw sent to my e-mail, I started thinking of my own sins and how far I'd gone in my own sins.
I took a pause, and thought, and then the Lord encouraged me. He told me to read the story of David and Bathsheba.
In 2 Samuel 11, David sees Bathsheba taking a shower and sends his messengers to get her. He sleeps with her. Some time later, Bethsheba tells David that she's pregnant.
Long story short, David slept with a married woman. Her husband had gone off to war to fight in David's army. Trying to hide it all, David tries to deceive Bethsheba's husband by getting him drunk so he could go and sleep with his wife (so he'd think it was his baby), but the plan doesn't work. He then sends a letter where he instructs his military commander to put Bethsheba's husband in the front line of the battle where the fighting would be fiercest (i.e. to have him killed in battle). This plan worked.
In 2 Samuel 12, the Lord sends a prophet named Nathan to tell David that what he did was wrong in the eyes of the Lord. Nathan, however, first tells him a story, so David could really get it:
"The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” (v. 1-6)
Nathan tells David, "You are the man..."
Human judgement said, "the man who did this must die!"
Godly judgement reacts and says, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die" 2 Samuel 12: 13b
Aren't we glad that even though we deserve to die for our sins, that we don't?
Human judgement comes in and says, "the man must pay for that lamb four times over." (verse 6)
Godly judgement shows that you don't have to pay. He paid for our penalties.
At 13, the manager at the store told me that he wouldn't tell the police, but that we'd just have to pay the fee for the pens and for stealing.
At that age you feel petrified and it makes you not want to do it again!
Boy was I glad!
Of course I still had to bear the consequence for doing what I did. David had to bear his too, but I was more glad that the fee had been paid for, and I'm sure he was too.
That's what God did for you and me. He paid for our sins.
When the enemy came in to tell us that we were guilty and deserving death, Jesus came in and said, "I'll pay the price. It's been cleared, you don't have to send them anywhere."
Boy am I glad that He died for you and me!
So the next time you feel guilty about what you did, remember that Jesus died for your sins and you have been set free.
Of course we need to repent and ask for forgiveness, but we shouldn't live in that regret and guilt any longer after we've been reprimanded because you've been set free.
After the fact, God is able to restore you completely.
"Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed." -John 8:36
Is a girl who fell deeply in love with Jesus,