Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Day 13: He Ran And Embraced Him

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He ran and embraced him.
Luke 15: 20 
These five words tell the story of a homecoming.
The image Jesus paints in this description of the Father, pelting his way down a dirty road, is one of an active, abundantly generous, enthusiastic, welcoming, gracious and kind God.

As Jesus tells the story of the Rejected One running to embrace and kick-start a party for the Rejector, the god I have believed in- who is passive and stingy and still far off, must be banished. Jesus knows the Father like no one knows the Father, and he says of Him; "He ran and embraced him." Distant? Passive? Aloof?

Not even close. 

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is running towards us, himself bridging the distance between us, himself inviting us to celebrate with him our homecoming and the glory of his generosity. 

God is the God of homecoming.

All three of the Luke 15 "lost and found" narratives end with a party. There is great rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents. In the same way that the father in the parable sets off to greet the disgraced son with warmth and joy, with robe and ring in hand, even while the wretched rebel is still far off- there is great rejoicing in heaven when even one sinner comes home! 

Oh how could my return merit such a welcome?

Because my homecoming is tightly wrapped up in Another's. 

After Jesus died, and was raised, he ascended to heaven. His was the ultimate homecoming. 

How the angels must have whooped and sung and bowed down and wondered, how they must have tried and failed to sound the depths of love divine, how the heavens must have rung! The Champion has conquered! The price is paid! Death is swallowed up in victory! Sin has been abolished! Glory to Heaven's Beloved; the Risen, Conquering Son! 

But the gospel goes beyond that- for heaven’s champion is my champion too. By the infinite grace of the Father, those who are His share His welcome, share His robe, share His ring; the delight of the Father in this Son's homecoming is the delight of the Father that we too, though we were by nature objects of wrath, are not lost, but found, made sons, made heirs- and destined to be raised up by Christ, and in Christ, at the last day. (John 6:39)

When I'm low, it's so good to know that my joy is tied to Christ's glory. As I'm forgiven, welcomed and celebrated- Jesus' kindness and power and grace is demonstrated as glorious. Every time there is a party in heaven to celebrate a sinner come home, there is a party in heaven to celebrate the One who brought, and bought,  them home. 

"God does not love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loved us."

John Stott 

“For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.” 
Hebrews 12: 2

"With his own blood he entered the Most Holy Place, once and for all time, and secured our redemption forever." 
Hebrews 9:12

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