God Welcomes All Who Repent

Jesus continued teaching about God’s abundant love (141):  “Once there was a man who had two sons. The younger son said, ‘Father, give me what I will inherit when you die — now.’ So the man reluctantly divided his property between the two sons.

“Soon the younger son sold his part & left home with the money. He went to a foreign land, where he wasted all his money foolishly, and ended up completely broke. When a severe famine came upon that land, he had to go to work to avoid starvation.

“A farmer hired him to take care of his pigs, but he remained so desperately poor & hungry that even the pig slop started looking good to him.

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“At last he came to his senses & thought: ‘My father’s hired workers have plenty to eat, while I’m about to starve. I’ll go home & admit that I have sinned against God & against my father, and that I’m no longer worthy to be called his son.  Then maybe he’ll give me a job as one of his hired workers.’  So he headed for home.

“As he approached, his father saw him coming from a distance.  His heart full of joy & compassion, the father ran to the son, threw his arms around him & kissed him!

“The son launched into his prepared speech: ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

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“But the father interrupted & called to his servants: ‘Hurry!  Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger & shoes on his feet. Then go and kill the prize calf, so we can all celebrate with a feast. My son was dead, but now he is alive!  He was lost, but now he is found!’ And soon the celebration was underway.

“When the older son was coming in from working hard in the fields all day, he heard the music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was happening.  ‘Your brother has come home,’ the servant answered, ‘and your father has killed the prize calf to celebrate, because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older son was so angry that he wouldn’t go into the house!  His father actually had to come outside to beg him to come in to join the celebration!

“The older son angrily refused: ‘All these years I’ve worked for you like a slave, and I’ve never disobeyed your orders. But you’ve never even given me so much as a goat for me to have a celebration with my friends!   Now this son of yours, who wasted your hard-earned wealth on prostitutes & partying, comes home broke, and you throw a major celebration for him!’

“The father answered, ‘Yes, son, you have always been loyal to me, and all my remaining wealth is now yours. But try to understand.

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“We had to celebrate, because your brother was as good as dead, but now he is alive! He was lost, but now he is found!'”

 

(141) Luke 15:11-32