Monday, February 27, 2012

The Prodigal Son pt. 5 "reconciliation"

The story Jesus tells in Luke 15 continues to unfold paralleling the good news of how God has worked within history to reconcile humanity to himself. We are shown a beautiful scene of reconciliation as the father receives home his son. The "best robe" is given to his son, sandals are placed upon his feet, and a ring placed upon his finger, probably the "family signet ring" bearing the seal of the family. There is complete restoration. Jesus in going to the "sinners" in Israel is carrying out that which God delights in, bringing people back into what it means to truly be human, to truly bear the image of God.
  God said long ago through a man named Ezekiel that "do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?(Ezekiel 18:23) Heaven rejoices when reconciliation takes place. Jonah in the Bible was a man that God told to go to Nineveh, that was the capital of Assyria, the enemies of Israel, Jonah was displeased with this calling and went the opposite way. God was able to get Jonah's attention however as he was swallowed by a great fish, its sad that usually at this point people spend more time debating wether a fish can swallow a man or not than noticing the great theme of the book. The great story is that God delighted in compassion, Nineveh was rushing headlong into its own downfall from depraved living, something Jonah seemed to welcome, rather God desired their reformation, their transformation, finding new life in him.
 Jesus died to bring us back to God. "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation, if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel"(Colossians 1:21-23). We are like the son in the parable reconciled to our Father, clothed with the robe of Christ in baptism, reconciled to live kingdom life for God.

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