Evangelism

Why Spread the Good News

This devotional is written by Charlotte Speller.  I love Jesus with all my heart and think Pineapple on Pizza is a taste of Heaven.
 

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32

The parable of the lost sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering round to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, 'This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.'

 The parable of the lost son

11 Jesus continued: 'There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate." So he divided his property between them.

13 'Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 'When he came to his senses, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants." 20 So he got up and went to his father.

'But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him.

21 'The son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

22 'But the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." So they began to celebrate.

25 'Meanwhile, the elder son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 "Your brother has come," he replied, "and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound."

28 'The elder brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, "Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!"

31 '"My son," the father said, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."'

Reflection

The Pharisees and teachers of the law were bothered that Jesus associated with those they disapproved of. Perhaps in this day and age that disapproval could be seen as someone voting a different political party from yourself, Brexit or no Brexit, to jab or not to jab etc.  Jesus loves us all and we are called to do the same. I used to think the older brother got a bit of a bad rep in this story. It can feel challenging to see someone struggle who has dedicated their life to Christianity, and then someone else live a life of utmost sin their whole life and be let in the Heavenly door last minute by repenting on their death bed. But this is why God is a God of grace, mercy and love. We have no right to judge or hold back sharing our inheritance from His kingdom. We should rejoice like Angels in heaven when a non-believer repents and becomes our brother or sister in Christ and offer support like an older sibling. We can get stuck in judging ourselves for not being the "model" Christian and believe the lies of the enemy that we are hypocrites and therefore can't evangelise. We live in a society where we are able to freely practice our faith, unlike some parts of the world where tragically they would be executed for merely praying to Jesus. It is easy to fear disrupting a friendship or judging whether someone would be open to God or not. Spending time doing ministry on the streets of London, I was shocked at how many people were open to being prayed for and accepted Jesus as their Lord. We are called to be obedient and have faith that God would welcome home anyone just like the father in this story to his youngest son. When we try to live life our own way, we can quickly find rock bottom and fall off course and sometimes take others with us. Like the father in the story, he waits for us to come to our senses. God's great love reaches out and rescues sinners no matter why or how they got lost. When we shift from focusing on our will to God's will for His kingdom, we can have an eternal perspective which brings us and the people around us peace and guides our lifestyle and priorities. God has promised his children eternal life. Who are we to get in the way of that?

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