Okay, I get it! We need to be careful and cautious when it comes to proclaiming Gods will. But then again I think He has been really clear in His word. If you ask me, the story of the prodigal son is one of the most inspiring illustrations of the new testament. A couple of years ago I tried to write a movie script based on this fascinating parable. Here are two brothers working in the family business. The youngest wants to explore the world, enjoy the good life, and asks his father for his share of the inheritance in cash. He goes off and parties for a while only to realize that friends can’t be bought and life will catch up with you sooner or later. So he decides to go back home where life is best. Now you can imagine… he feels deeply ashamed, guilty of wrongdoing and afraid of being rejected by his own family. However he finds his father waiting for him with open arms and in this moment the rebellious son is overwhelmed by perfect love. He will never be the same again after this experience, because there was no doubt in his heart that he did not deserve any of it.
So there is mercy and forgiveness, but most of all, there is grace and restoration. Now, what moral truth is Jesus trying to convey here? Does justice prevail here? The older brother was quite upset to see that there were no consequences for the misbehavior of his sibling. In his mind he had been loyal and dedicated to his obligations and deserved a lot more favor than his insane brother who had just waisted half of the family capital, yet the father is celebrating this idiots return. What is going on here? Is this fair? When the father is trying to explain his attitude towards this event it seems like the older son is the one who is still completely lost, for he doesn’t seem to understand that worship and adoration is far more significant than religious rituals of sacrifice. Can you see the difference? If the oldest son portrays submission-based obedience, than the youngest son symbolizes permission-based obedience.
Try to imagine the kingdom of God as a personal invitation of participation in his family business. You are by no means entitled to rule on his behalf, but he allows you to govern his affairs as a joined heir by adoption. The moment you think you have the birthright to claim what is yours, you loose the appreciation and the ability of receiving the gift of life which you didn’t deserve in the first place. You can not claim your inheritance with God. You can merely accept the privilege of sonship with gratitude. And than in confidence act in accordance to his perfect will, which can only be understood by commission. The individual or body to whom is entrusted the governing authority to execute and enforce the implicit will of a higher power in order to accomplish a certain goal or purpose. This to me sounds like the sort of thing that Jesus was talking about.
It is my impression that our personal interpretation of Gods will can be expressed in our own unique and creative way.Embedded in our DNA we have a natural yearning for authenticity in the living out of our true convictions. If we are constantly waiting for specific instructions from God or from the scriptures and if we need explicit rules and regulations to know Gods will, than we are not following Jesus. We are completely missing the point of the new arrangement with our heavenly father that has been offered to us. The incredible cosmic exchange available to us in Christ is that we can hear Gods voice by listening to our heart in which the Spirit has made his dwelling place. We have become a temple for his holy presence, when we in fact lay down our lives and acknowledge the lordship of Christ. That is the magnificent story of the prodigal son. The reason why I am passionate about this gospel is because it actually happend to me. I can relate to the prodigal son.
To be continued…