Gaze in wonder of what Jesus accomplished at the cross.
In Luke 15 there are three parables that are told. One of a lost coin, a lost sheep, and the one we have been looking at and in the first two stories there is always someone who goes out to look for the lost coin or the lost sheep, however, in the last story nobody goes out to look for the lost son, and it is suppose to strike you off guard and it is because the older brother was suppose to go out. The older brother should have gone to the father and said, “Father, my younger brother has acted foolishly and his life is in ruins.” I will leave the home, go look for him, pay for his debt at my expense, and bring him home.” However, that older brother doesn’t exist in the story and as Jesus is telling the story He is inviting us to imagine and yearn for a true older brother. Jesus is that older brother.
In the story of the younger brother it appears that the younger brother is brought back into the family without cost to anyone, that he is simply forgiven, but you need to know forgiveness always comes at a cost. The scriptures tell us without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness, so where the older brother resists Jesus responds. He doesn’t just go to the next country to find us but will come all the way from heaven to earth. Even though He created all of creation, it is by Him, for Him, and through Him, creation didn’t recognize Him because of our spiritual confusion. He was ignored, belittled, beaten, stripped, spat upon, He doesn’t just pay a finite amount for our expenses but an infinite amount in the cost of His own life to restore us back to the relationship He intended from the very beginning.
When Adam and Eve in Genesis responded in disobedience, He responded in obedience. It wasn’t easy and He asked if there was another way. Yet when He willingly laid His life down He experiences the physical and spiritual death that started in Genesis 2:17. He took it upon Himself and three days latter He rose from the grave and conquered that physical and spiritual death.
Jesus didn’t just die on a cross because it was a good example but because He knew we were physically and spiritually separated from God out there spinning around in spiritual space and He took that responsibility on Himself to attach us back to a relationship with our creator and that is the wonder of what was accomplished at the cross. He is our lifeline to connect us back to the life He intends for us to live.
Here is the danger of spiritual entitlement. The older brother who stayed home, who didn’t run, who did the right thing ended up being further from the father. As we step out to start a church, help the community, make new friends it is going to be easy to get caught up in a lot of external things that we are doing and that doesn’t make them wrong but we need to be careful that it doesn’t distract us from the wonder of the cross.
I hope we meet a lot of people and do a lot for the community, but that our focus for existing as a church would never be our external behavior but that we would be completely infatuated with Jesus.