Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Included?

(Click on the "Included?" title of this blog to listen to Randy Harris talk about this subject himself.)

Luke 15 is my favorite chapter in the Bible. I love the word picture Jesus paints of the Father who is willing, and even anxious to run to meet his returning prodigal son. I recently heard a lesson by Rick Atchley in which he speaks of the shame of the father hiking his robe up exposing his knees when he ran. That shame may seem insignificant to us today, but in Jesus time it was quite significant. He accepted and transferred the shame aimed at his son to himself. How like Jesus!

But, Randy Harris has pointed out that Jesus has another point to make in this chapter. Jesus could have stopped with the return of the prodigal. Then he would have had a triple play - the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son - same story told three times for emphasis. But he has another story for us to hear. He wants us to know about the older brother.

The opening lines of the chapter tell about the Pharisees who object to Jesus associating with sinners. As in the closing melody of an overture Jesus brings this chapter to an end by going back to his opening theme. The older brother does not have room for his penitent brother, like the Pharisees did not have room for the sinners.

Luke 15 is still my favorite. But, now I realize that taking satisfaction in the "God who runs" is not enough. I also have to find a way to join him in finding room for the sinners, the great unwashed, the "K-mart crowd," the Anawim. Because when I look honestly and carefully at this group, I see my own face among them.

May God open my eyes that I may see His precious Son when I see every man, every woman, every child. May he help me remember his unquenchable, never ending, awesome love that prompted him to send his one and only son to die for each one of them, and for me.

Be good to yourselves.