HOME IS WHERE THE FATHER IS
BY JESS DEVNEY
Home is much more than a list of experiences that you’ve grown up around. Home is a lot more than a list of memories although each memory holds a special place in your heart. Home is made up of the relationships that we have in our lives. If you don’t invest in your home, you can know people but it’ll never feel warm and welcoming like a home should. In the beginning of Luke 15, there are two different types of groups: sinners and pharisees. The sinners are described as the people who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. These people are known to not have a religious bone in their body. They want to make life a party. The pharisees are known as the religious leaders. They are the group of people who check mark all the boxes and think they’re God’s people. In fact, they do all the right things and follow all the rules. Jesus wants us to understand that life is made up of two kinds of people: the pharisee and the sinner. Both of these crowds have an objective to relate to God. It’s important to understand: everyone is trying to relate to God, some are just sinners and some are just pharisees. Both of these crowds are attracted to Jesus in very different ways. One is attracted to Jesus because He looks at them and says, “You belong here. Welcome home. You are not messed up enough to escape the love of God.” There is another group who is angry because Jesus is doing this. These people are attracted to Jesus because they think they’re going to straighten Jesus out. Whichever crowd you’re from, Jesus loves both crowds.
He loves the unrighteous and the self-righteous.
Jesus begins to tell a story of two brothers. There are two brothers because there are two groups in the crowd.
ACT ONE: The Younger Brother
The younger brother comes to his father and says, “I’m tired of living under these rules. I want what is mine.” The younger son is using his father to get what he wants. The younger brother wants to know if God’s real then why doesn’t He stop him from partaking in bad behaviors. God is going to let you have what you want most in your life. In fact, you’re going to pull into your life what you worship. If you worship the Father’s things, that’s what you’re going to try to pull into your life. Many times, we’re praying for God to change things but he’s a great Father who will give you your greatest desires.
ACT TWO: The Elder Brother
Once the younger brother returns, the elder brother isn’t excited because he’s saying, “Father I’ve been obeying you because I want what is mine.” Both brothers are coming at God or the Father from two different perspectives with the same except motivation. They don’t want the Father, they just want his belongings. The Bible is teaching us that all of humanity is trying to relate to God. Jesus is speaking to both crowds – the sinners and the pharisees – and He is making the most revolutionary declaration: you both are lost. One group is trying to find God through self-discovery while the other is trying to find God through rule-keeping.
Jesus is redefining GOD, SIN, and SALVATION.
REDEFINING GOD: He Is Our Father
Jesus is trying to illustrate that the center of attention in this story isn’t the elder’s son or the younger son but it’s the Father and His love. Both sons wanted the Father’s things but neither wanted the Father. There’s something about the Father that is seeking people. His heart is to chase after the unbroken. One is saying, “Father, I don’t want your rules anymore so give me your stuff.” He’s saying he doesn’t want the Father’s authority or the things he feels are restrictions toward his life. The other one is saying, “I’ve kept all the restrictions, I’ve kept all the rules, I’ve kept all of it so give me my stuff.” The Father looks at his son and says, “All that I have is yours so come into the family.” The message of the story isn’t about what we deserve but more so who we belong too. We have a Father in Heaven who runs and chases us because while we are in our sin, He comes after us from whichever group we’re from. God is saying, “Come home.”
REDEFINING SIN: Good Is Not God
We can do good for all the wrong reasons. Following Jesus is just as much about leaving behind the “good works” you trusted in as it is leaving behind the “ugly sin” you were stuck in. Jesus is saying, “You can’t work your way to God because sin goes deeper than that.” We need a savior to rescue us. Sin is about leaving behind our bad motivations and making an audience of one. The beauty of this story is the Father welcoming people home.
REDEFINING SALVATION: We All Need To Be Welcomed Home
Salvation has more to do with your response than your behavior. The bible says that it’s the goodness of God that draws people to repentance. You don’t go to God for how good or bad you are. However, you go to God because you get a revelation in your soul that God is chasing after you, pursuing you, and welcoming you home. Whether you’re broken or hurting, the Father is still welcoming you home. The message of the gospel is that the Father has welcomed us home and we can rest in His goodness and grace. Jesus is your true elder brother because He gave everything so you can come back home into the Father’s house. The key to fall more in love with God is to realize how much it cost Him and how much it cost your elder brother to bring you home. Salvation is a free gift of God but it cost something. In this story, it cost the Father and the true elder brother because if He was going to bring Him home, the elder brother had to give up some things. We were so far off, that JESUS gave up His life for us. On the cross, our true elder brother said, “WELCOME HOME.”
When we believe in that, we’re brought back into the family of God with a
YOU BELONG HERE and WELCOME HOME.