The drama of Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter is a love story. It is the story of God’s love. I think the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) is the love story Jesus told during His life to help prepare the disciples to understand how His death could be used by God to redeem the world.
The prodigal son is you and me. He tells his loving Father (God) that he can’t wait for him to die. That is our sin, our desire to be in control of our lives, and our inability or unwillingness to trust God with our lives. When the loving Father runs through town to save the prodigal son’s life from the angry town folk, that is God doing anything necessary to save us, even dying on the cross. God loves us no matter how unlovable we actually are.
I always like to see myself as the loving father. I’m a good father, don’t I love like God does? Of course the answer is, “Not very often.” In actuality I am like the man who went into a busy florist shop by a large sign in the window that read, “Say It With Flowers.” “Wrap up one rose for me, please” he told the florist. “Just one?” the florist asked. “Just one,” the customer replied. “I’m a man of few words.”
Through the years I have let my wife down countless times, been too busy to spend time with my kids, let my temper get out of control, not been able to keep my word, and needed to be forgiven many times. I don’t think my flaws are that odd. I think what I need is God’s love to redeem my imperfect love all the time.
That is such an important lesson for us to learn and always remember as we finish another celebration of Easter. Our love is so imperfect, and God’s love is perfect and can redeem our love, and bring forgiveness into our relationships whenever we trust in Him.
I like this simple story to illustrate how much God loves us. A little boy was told by his doctor that he could save his sister’s life by giving her some blood. The 6-year-old girl was near death, a victim of disease from which the boy had made a marvelous recovery two years earlier. Her only chance for restoration was a blood transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the illness. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor. “Johnny, would you like to give your blood for Mary?” the doctor asked. The boy hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled, and said, “Sure, Doc. I’ll give my blood for my sister.” Soon the two children were wheeled into the operating room — Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and the picture of health. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned. As his blood siphoned into Mary’s veins, one could almost see new life come into her tired body. The ordeal was almost over when Johnny’s brave little voice broke the silence, “Say Doc, when do I die?” It was only then that the doctor realized what the moment of hesitation, the trembling of the lip, had meant earlier. Little Johnny actually thought that in giving his blood to his sister he was giving up his life! And in that brief moment, he had made his great decision! Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This little boy actually was willing to lay his life down for his sister. Jesus made that kind of sacrifice for us.
How loving do you think you are? Do you trust God with all things? In what areas of your life do you need to ask God to redeem your love so that relationships can be healed? Remember, Jesus has endured the cross so we can be forgiven of our sins. He has conquered sin, death and evil through His resurrection. We can trust our lives to Him.
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