A Changed Life

Read This Week: Luke 15

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. – Luke 15:21-24 NIV

The words of an old gospel song go something like this: I believe that the Christ who was slain on the cross has the power to change lives today. We believe that, right? Sometimes we believe it, but maybe we don’t always believe it. It is tough to admit, but perhaps the fallenness of this world, the daily encounter of brokenness in people’s lives, the rapid, contentious degradation of our culture, and just the grind of the journey can obstruct the belief that God is still in the life-changing business. It can dent the confidence that the Gospel is still advancing today like Jesus said it would.

Could this temporary lack of belief be why we look at the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 and find it so unbelievable? After all, we are Christ-followers. We believe in the Bible wholeheartedly. We see God’s activity around us all the time, and we have tasted, seen, and experienced the power of the resurrection in our lives and countless others. However, situations and circumstances arise involving certain people that test our faith and cause us to forget that God still saves and redeems those far from Him.

The Parable of the Lost Son is one of those stories that test belief in the probability of a person being rescued. Here was a young man born into riches and privilege with a loving father and all the opportunity he could claim. But he was rebellious, selfish, and determined to leave his home, live in the world, and entertain the most sinister vices. Verse 13 says: The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country, and squandered his wealth in wild living.

At one point, the son was so far away from his home and from God in his heart that he ended up in foreign country feeding pigs for a farm owner and becoming so desperate that he desired to eat the same food the pigs were eating. He was alone, despairing, and on the edge of death, yet he still chose his lifestyle over change. Then he repents in his heart, comes to his senses, and realizes he could go home and that his father would receive him if he asked for forgiveness.

What happens next is one of the more touching and beautiful pictures of grace and forgiveness that leads to a changed life in all of the Bible. The son goes home, and when his father sees him, he does not meet him with disappointment, shame, or a guilt-ridden lecture about poor choices. He receives him with love, acceptance, and joy. Verses 22-24 tell us:

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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

This parable is as much about the love of a father as it is the sin-filled wandering and homecoming of a wayward son. The father is more interested in his son and restoring their relationship than what he had done or where he had been. The same is true of Father God when he looks at us and at those who we think are too far from Him to ever be redeemed. He just wants us, and His grace through the blood of Jesus gives us every opportunity to come to Him. And when we do, He runs out, embraces us, and celebrates our changed life.

We believe that the Christ who was slain on the cross has the power to change lives today. We believe it. We believe it because it’s true.

13 Comments

  1. Jeri Centers on June 22, 2022 at 10:43 am

    I have a word from Luke 15 verse 10:

    In Jesus, I found joy and my faith in Jesus
    His name fills me with so much glee because I believe.

    It was he that first love me. I found my way in Jesus
    No longer am I lost for he has taken me to the foot of the cross.

    What that means to me is that I find my hope in Jesus, where my treasures are stored. And in Him, the doors are always opened. I find my joy in Jesus. His name Jesus reminds me of the life I have now all due to his grace and love!

    • Jason on June 30, 2022 at 9:20 am

      Such a hopeful word, Jeri. It is so wonderful that along with strength, hope, faith, confidence, and peace, we can also find joy in knowing Jesus. His grace and love allows us to navigate this life with joy even when there is no earthly reason to have it.

  2. Jeri Centers on June 22, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    I also have a word from Luke 15 verse 32:

    Alive, I’m alive, dead to sin, I’m reborn now that Jesus lives within.
    I’m alive and flourishing
    I was lost and now I’m found.

    I’m alive. I’m at peace in Jesus
    I am forgiven, a new life I’ve been given.

    What that means to me is that I’m thriving and His Spirit is breathing in me. I’m everlastingly blessed that Jesus has set me free. And I’m alive by grace and grace alone.

    • Jason on June 30, 2022 at 9:24 am

      This is so good. A lot is said about human flourishing and how man continues to try and devise ways to improve the quality of life for people, but the greatest way to experience human flourishing is to know and love Jesus. We are indeed alive and flourishing and free from the pain of sin because of His grace.

  3. Heidi on June 23, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    Luke 15:10 says, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents [that is, changes his inner self—his old way of thinking, regrets past sins, lives his life in a way that proves repentance; and seeks God’s purpose for his life].”

    I love this verse because I remember when I was lost and I know the feeling of having joy when I get to be a part of someone who repents has the desire to want to have a change of heart and loves to seek God’s purpose for their life. It’s so wonderful!

    • Jason on June 30, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Wonderful post, Heidi. I love how you captured the feeling that we all had when we came to know Jesus and passed from death to life. It was truly that euphoric feeling of joy, peace, and hope as God transforms our hearts and lives through His grace.

      Thank you for that reminder to pass that on and desire for others to experience the miracle and have the beautiful feelings that God so graciously gives us through salvation.

  4. Heidi on June 23, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    I love this song:

    Once I was blind and now I can see
    Every day with Jesus is a beautiful thing!
    My life is a song I love to to sing to Jesus because He loves me so much

    I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found
    I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found
    So Far Away, But I’m Home Now
    I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found
    And Now My Lifesong Sings

    I Once Was Blind, But Now I See
    I Once Was Blind, But Now I See
    I Don’t Know How, But When He Touched Me
    I Once Was Blind, But Now I See

    And Now My Lifesong Sings
    And Now My Lifesong Sings
    And Now My Lifesong Sings

    I Once Was Dead, But Now I Live
    I Once Was Dead, But Now I Live
    Now My Life To You I Give
    Now My Life To You I Give
    Now My Life To You I Give

    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Let My Lifesong Sing To You

    • Jason on June 30, 2022 at 9:40 am

      Thank you for posting this, Heidi. I love the imagery and metaphor of the life song and the idea that our lives and hearts sing a song for the world to hear. A song of freedom, hope, and love that is found in Jesus Christ.

      This is one of my favorite Casting Crowns songs.

  5. Reach Church on June 26, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    This Week in the Life: Luke 15

    For the best experience, we suggest that you listen to the first song, then the message, and then the second song.

    1. Sunday Worship: https://reachchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-0626-Worship1.wav
    2. Sunday Message: https://reachchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-0626-Message.wav
    3. Sunday Worship: https://reachchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-0626-Worship2.wav

    Join the Party Line Live – Schedule: https://reachchurch.org/connect

  6. Kathy on June 27, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    This is what I got from God in Luke 15: “I actively seek and search for the lost. When Jesus finds His people, He carries them. The lost belong to Me, whether they know it or not. I want you to put forth the light of My word and search for the lost. I am happy when My sinners repent. When you go your own way, you need to come back to Me and repent.

    I want an honest confession of your sin. Do not try to justify or excuse your sins. Don’t just feel sorry and think about repenting; do it! Jesus receives all his runaways. I do much more for you than just meeting your needs. Do not be unappreciative of all that you have. Thank Me for everything I have given you, even the trials. Repent and come home to your father. I will run to you with open arms.”

    What this said to me is I need to help look for the lost, shine God’s light on them, and try to bring them to Him. When I go off on my own and need to run back to Jesus. He will greet me with open arms.

    • Jason on June 30, 2022 at 10:09 am

      Wonderful commentary, Kathy. I appreciate so much how you tied in both the grace of the Father and the responsibility of the child. That is definitely represented in the Parable of the Lost Son and it is true for us even today. God extends His grace through the cross but we have a responsibility in our obedience to and worship of Him. When they come together, it is a beautiful union and reunion. I loved this part:

      I do much more for you than just meeting your needs. Do not be unappreciative of all that you have. Thank Me for everything I have given you, even the trials. Repent and come home to your father. I will run to you with open arms.

      May we all live within God’s grace with gratitude to Jesus for the way He embraced us in salvation and the way He continues to in our walk with Him. And may that gratitude and obedience underwrite our daily journey.

  7. Alma on June 30, 2022 at 9:14 am

    God gave me a song this week from Luke 15 called “Growing in the Lord”:

    Growing in the Lord, growing in the Lord
    Let’s join hands rejoicing and singing hallelujah, hallelujah!

    We are growing in the Lord, becoming closer to our Lord
    Singing joy, joy, joy, we have joy in our hearts.

    Spreading the love of our father to others
    Growing in the Lord, growing in the Lord.

    Let’s join hands singing hallelujah, hallelujah!
    We are growing in the Lord. Amen.

    Thank you, Jesus, for loving me and giving me so much joy and love to share. My heart is always wanting more love and kindness to share and help your children become closer to you.

    • Jason on June 30, 2022 at 10:00 am

      I love this song, Alma, and the word picture of singing and spreading the love of God to other believers and to everyone we come in contact with. This was my favorite part:

      Spreading the love of our father to others
      Growing in the Lord, growing in the Lord.

      This is a perfect complement to the Scripture for this week and the power a changed life can have in the world through the Holy Spirit’s leading and guidance.

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