I know putting the words party and theology together is like trying to mix oil and water. They are incompatible! However, when you understand the true heart of our Heavenly Father, then you easily see that theology (an up close study of God), if I can say without being prejudged, is a party scene!
God LOVES to celebrate us! It’s no coincidence that the first miracle recorded was at a wedding in Canna. John chapter 2 explains how Jesus turned water into wine so that the Wedding Party could continue to celebrate. This shows us that a major part of the heart of our Heavenly Father is about celebration!
Another great example of this truth is the Parable of The Lost Son in Luke chapter 15. In order for us to understand this story, we first have to understand the context.
During this time, not only was Jesus’ popularity running pretty high, but many of His followers were considered “scum” by the religious people. Jesus came with a message of HOPE that God longs for the repentance of sinners – and when they do, He rejoices and gladly forgives. The Pharisees and scribes couldn’t fathom His acceptance of those who were obviously wrong. They thought, “If you’re going to hang out with them, you CAN’T hang out with us!”…so they criticized!
Jesus perceives their criticism and tells them three stories – the story of The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost Son. The reason Jesus told these stories was to correct the Pharisees view of God…to help them see that The Father is looking for a reason to throw a party because of a human that finds his way home!
When we read Luke 15:11-24, we notice how the father of this story calls for a celebration at the return of his son. He pulls out all of the stops, has a special robe for his son, places a ring on his finger, a calf they’ve been saving for a special celebration is put on the grill, and they throw a party! Not just any type of party…this is a resurrection party! DEAD TO LIFE!
I think this is what Jesus wants us to see from this story…
- The Father loves to forgive.
Far from God being stingy and reluctant to His forgiveness, He is EAGER and READY. All He wants is that we but turn toward home, and He starts down the road ready to embrace us and cover us with a garment of Grace!
- The Father was never mad at the Prodigal Son, nor his older brother.
Regardless of the fact that the prodigal son took his inheritance and squandered it, he never got vindictive or banished him from the family. The second son, who acted just like many of the Pharisees we have so despised, didn’t find an angry or vindictive father anymore than the sinful son did. They both found the same response when they challenged his love for them! They both started as sons, ended as sons, and remained sons in-between!
The Prodigal Son story is more than just about The Father’s love for a sinner; it’s also about His love for all those who think they’re not!
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you.” Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song.”
There’s a party and everyone is welcome! The sinner is welcomed home to feast, and the self-righteous is welcomed in to rest.