Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for this daily challenge. It’s Thursday, the day we try to apply and live out what we’ve learned this week from the Bible. This week we’ve been studying the story of the Prodigal Son, and how it teaches us abuot Jesus’ forgiveness.
The story involved two sons who misunderstood their father.
The Prodigal Son thought his father was a man of law, when he crawled home and said “I am no longer worthy to be called your son, treat me like one of your hired hands.”
He hadn’t obeyed his father’s laws, so the best he could hope for was to be a servant of his father, if he could only get his act together long enough. He would have to earn his father’s acceptance in order to receive care in the form of food and shelter as a servant.
The other son thought the world worked this way too. He’d followed all the rules, so he felt he deserved much more love and care and status than his brother.
But what both got was a man of grace, when the father welcomed his lost son home, gave him loving care with a banquet loaded with food and drinks, and gave him a new status as his son, with ring.
After all that grace, I can only hope that the son responded by obeying his father’s laws, being all the more thankful for what he’s received now that he’s experienced life away from his father’s love.
We can come home to God because of his amazing grace.
Well, I am now going to share with you a very sophisticated theological tool……It has taken biblical scholars decades to perfect this tool…So I am going to draw a straight line and show what the Christian faith is all about from OUR point of view. So here we have the starting point (no relationship with God) – and here the end point (perfect intimacy with God).
At one end is 0 – a life far from God, like the prodigal son went far from his father. No one is actually a zero, everyone has an opportunity to turn around, no one is too far.
The other end is 100% – enjoying perfect intimacy with God like Jesus always enjoyed. No one we know is really there either…not in this world anyway.
So all of us are somewhere in the middle here.
But if you were say here (~10) you would probably be wrestling with questions like – is there a God?
If you were here (~30) – If I wanted to find out what God is like where would I start ?
If you were here (~40) you could be thinking, I wonder if God is personal or just some cosmic force and where does Jesus fit into all of this…and it goes along.
But lets take for the sake of conversation mid point (50) —someone who is at here is at the point of commitment. Of saying, okay, I don’t understand everything about the Christian faith, got lots of questions still, but what I do understand is this—God came to earth in the person of Jesus in order that my sins could be forgiven and I can now live in a relationship with God, a relationship by the way, that will last for eternity. I don’t understand it all, but I’ve heard enough to understand who God is and to understand better who I am and I am at a point in my life where I am prepared to be identified as a follower of Jesus.
Now anyone from on this side of the graph we would call a seeker—and that is a very good thing to be. A seeker is a person who is still asking which direction do I want to go in life, where do I go to find the answers ? Anybody on this side is a disciple, good bible word which means anyone who is trying to follow Jesus. A disciple is not someone who is perfect, I am proof of that! Rather a disciple is someone who knows what direction they are going in life and where to go for answers. This midpoint is where someone asks for baptism, or some other way to publicly say I am trying to follow Jesus.
But the most important part of this line is when we listen to the Prodigal Son Story in this context:
The younger son had gone as from his father as possible, he was like a 1. He went as far as he could physically, and he rejected everything his father stood for in the way he lived. But the minute he started heading home, his father ran out to meet him, forgiving him.
The older son had stayed physically close to his father. He was like a 99. But the minute it was revealed that he didn’t understand his father was a man of grace, and started to head away from his way of life, his father ran out of a party to chase after him.
The point that I am trying to make is there is a moment of commitment here and the big thing is not so much where you are on the graph but which direction you are going. What matters is not so much where you have been, or where you are now, but where you go today.
God the Father, and God the Son, Jesus, are forgiveness, and all we need to do is turn around and run back to him.
Challenge: Where on the graph do you see yourself – on the seeker-side or on the follower side? In which direction on the graph are you going? What is stopping you from turning around and running home to God’s forgiveness?