by Joe Alain

When God Ran
Joe Alain
Luke 15:11-20

''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'' (Luke 15:20)

Luke chapter 15 consists of three parables (or stories) with one central thought. In each of the stories something is lost and then found, followed by rejoicing over finding that which was lost. And with each story the value of that which is lost and found builds, from a sheep to a person.

(1) A story about the loving father whose nature is to redeem.
The passage we read this morning represents the most familiar of the three stories, what we call the Prodigal Son. But as many have said, it's not so much a story about the prodigal son as it is a story about the loving father whose instinct is to restore his son's place in the family. Likewise, the father represents God our loving heavenly Father whose ''loving'' nature is to redeem fallen humanity, redeem meaning, ''to buy back,'' ''to free from what distresses or harms,'' ''to change for the better,'' ''to repair, restore.''

(2) Jesus is telling us what God is like.
In giving us these stories, Jesus is telling us what God is like, God is a God who redeems because he loves.

(3) Encouragement to be redemptive.
And by way of these simple stories, Jesus is encouraging his followers to be like God the Father, to be redemptive in our relationships. And from a negative standpoint, we could say Jesus is telling us ''don't be like the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law who obviously know nothing of the redeeming grace of God'' (15:1-2).

Life Application: God deals with us redemptively and changes us so that we can deal redemptively with others.

God is redemptive in his dealings with us. He deals with us patiently, he seeks to restore us, to change us for the better, and he is ''always'' redemptive in his actions. And we're glad that God is like that. The Psalmist says ...

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