When you hear the word “repentance” what feelings does it conjure up within you? Personally, it does not make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. More often than not, I feel a sense of guilt, shame and even fear when I think of what it means to repent. Yet the picture often painted in our mind of repentance is the exact opposite of the one Jesus painted for us in Luke chapter 15.
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus tells the story of three lost items – a sheep, a coin and a son. In each of these stories, Jesus paints a picture of something of value being lost and then recovered.
I don’t know about you, but I really hate losing things. And unfortunately, losing things is something I am extremely good at doing! I seem to lose either my wallet, car keys or sunglasses on almost a weekly basis.
But just as much as I dislike losing things, I have great joy when I find what has been lost! If I’m headed out the door for an appointment and can’t find my car keys, it feels like a national emergency. And when I find them, it is like a national holiday. Halleluiah! My keys have been found!
In the same way, Jesus tells in this story how overjoyed the people who find the items are when what they lost has been recovered. Listen in to how Jesus describes this great joy:
“And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” (Luke 15:5-6)
“And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’” (Luke 15:9)
“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.” (Luke 15:22-23)
In all three of these stories, we see how the shepherd, the woman and the father experience great joy when what they lost has been found. What is the morale of the story? Father God rejoices over us when we come to him with repentant hearts that are broken over our sin.
And when you know that you are approaching a Father who will be filled with joy at your return, it changes the whole vibe about coming to God in repentance. No longer am I approaching a God who is going to heap on loads of guilt and shame, but one who is going to rejoice over me and my return!
Knowing we are approaching Our Good Father who is glad to see us come home changes the entire perspective of how we see repentance. Instead of coming to God with our heads down and shoulders slumped, we can return to my Father expecting him to rejoice over our homecoming!
Want to see God in a whole new light? Check out my book, Our Good Father. In this book, you will discover how the words of Jesus can change the way we see God in a dramatic and powerful way.