Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday's Sermon

I was at the local Baptist church on Sunday and heard a very good explanation of Jesus parable of the 'prodigal' son.
It sparked off some thoughts of my own surrounding Jesus words...these are just sketches and outlines that may need developing a bit more.

1. The two parables preceding the prodigal in Luke 15 tell of a one lost sheep (1/100) and a woman with one lost coin (1/10), the striking thing for me was that neither the coin nor the sheep (being lost) could do anything to make themselves unlost. Jesus is setting up the next parable and especially the prodigals 'coming to his senses' bit. The question for me was 'did he really have a change of heart'? Or was his scheming to get home just a form of self-justification and therefore self-salvation - the way of law and not grace. One thing is sure, it is the initiation of the father that makes the son found, and it is the searcher who finds the sheep and coin.

2. The pharisees were declaring (indirectly) that ritual cleansing is acceptable to God, that it was through class, religious and/or social standing that one became acceptable to the temple cult and therefore God. Jesus destroys this position by declaring grace.

3. The other son is like those who will miss out on the big banquet at the end...we leave him in the parable forever angry, forever jealous and forever outside the party, but with the sounds of the party always within earshot.

4. Remember that both sons receive their inheritance, the father ends up like a tenant!! So listen what Jesus does, he has the father (tenant) take the inheritors (angry son) prize calf and use it for the feast on the son who is (wrongly) seen as unclean. He takes what is rightfully the inheritors and gives it to the squanderer.

So in the minds of the pharisees this would be abstract parabolic horror, Jesus was saying 'by the way guys, you know those sinners that you were looking down on at the start, well guess what, I've accepted them on terms that you know nothing about - there in and your out!!!

So for me the sermon stirred up lots of thoughts (thanks Lewis), but it also led me to these conclusions...
1. Salvation is given - not earned (some people do still try and earn it)
2. It is not us who decide who gets salvation
3. True religion starts and ends with God

Like I said, just some thoughts.

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