Jesus, our Lord, knew that many would follow Him. He also knew that of those that followed many would eventually turn back to the world. So, Jesus set up provisions for them so they could repent again and return. He spent time teaching directly to His fallen followers and helped them understand that He was merciful, longsuffering, and greatly wished for them to return home to Him. In Luke 15, Jesus speaks directly to the fallen and give three parables of those returning home.
The first parable was about a lost sheep. Jesus tells of a shepherd that leaves ninety-nine sheep and looks for the one that is lost. Once, he has found it he throws a celebration to rejoice for the lost sheep he has found. Jesus concludes the parable with this message. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just person who need no repentance.” Jesus is the good shepherd and He is going out and looking for those that need to repent.
The second parable was about a lost coin. A woman has lost a coin and lights a lamp to look for it. She sweeps the house and eventually finds it. Like the shepherd, she too rejoices at finding what she has lost. Jesus ends the parable with this, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” The Holy Spirit has lit a lamp for us, the word of God. (Ps. 119:105) God’s word has lite a path to His kingdom. God word will help us find ourselves and find Him at the same time.
The final parable was about a lost son. The son leaves his father, takes his inheritance, and spends it all on prodigal living. He wasted his life on the things of this world. He completely and utterly turned his back on his father and his family. Perhaps those of us that left the faith feel as if we have reached the point that we have gone so far that we cannot come back. Every time our heart suggests that we return to the faith, to the church, and to God; we quickly tell ourselves that just isn’t possible. That was the state of the prodigal son as well. As he is having to share the pig’s food after all of his money runs out, his heart suggests to him to go home. However, feeling that he cannot go home and be a son again, he becomes brave just enough to return to be a servant. He thinks to himself that perhaps his father would hire him on to work in his fields. As he returns home his father see him from a far off and runs to him. As the son begins to tell the father that he not worthy to be a son anymore, the father stops him and begins telling everyone that his son was dead, but now alive again. The father as well throws a celebration to rejoice in his son’s return. Our Father in Heaven deeply wants His sons and daughters to return home. He waits for us to humbly come back so that He might run out to meet us.
Perhaps, your heart too is suggesting that you come home. The entire Godhead is looking for you and encouraging you to come back the faith. If there is anything that we can do to aid your journey back to the Father, please let us know! We want nothing more than to rejoice with those in heaven for one person that repents. Please contact us here at Gardendale if you’re like to study the Bible together and pray together.
— Andrew Smith