Monday Reverb – 28March2022


Today’s reverb is based on a parable … so I’d like to begin by looking at something the GCI Equipper said about parables …

From last week’s sermon notes … from the GCI Equipper …

The way Jesus used parables wasn’t to explain things in simple terms.  He was aiming to reveal how peoples’ understanding of God fell short of who he is.  Ultimately, Jesus used parables as a tool to lead people to repent of wrongful ways of thinking about God.   We will look at one of those parables in Luke 13:1-9 intended to do just that. Jesus begins with a choice to either repent or perish.

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” (Luke 13:1-5 NRSV)

Now before we go further, let’s clear up a point here.  Jesus is not telling us that unless we change the way we think about God, we will perish, because we are all going to perish.  Rather, Jesus is talking eschatologically.  If you continue your wrong way of thinking about God, and believe the common, though mistaken, assumption that tragic events or evil happens as a result of sin and guilt, you will be left with a false view of God.  This false view will cause you to avoid pursuing a relationship with him.  You will feel left out, and unable to enjoy being with the real God.

Keep in mind that repenting means primarily … changing how one thinks about something.  Actions, of course, will follow the way we think.  Jesus knows that if we carry this wrong-headed thinking about the Father in our hearts, the suffering and tragedy we all experience will be a weight too heavy to bear, and may turn us to blaming God, rather than worshipping him.




The Heart of the Father

Luke 15:11-16,17-21,22-24

Think of a time when you did something as a child that you knew you would get into trouble for.  And because of your actions, you hid or stayed away.  Maybe you broke your mom’s favorite vase or neglected to do something that your dad told to you do.  Sometimes those experiences get carried over into our relationship with God.  Sometimes we stay away from God because we think that we are not worthy, or that we have done something that disqualifies us from his love.  We even think that God’s response to us will be according to the level of how much we think we need to grovel to get back in his good graces.

We are going to be looking at a story today of a son who has hit rock bottom and is highly fearful of returning to his father.  Although we know this story as The Parable of the Prodigal Son, the story is more about the heart of the father.  We will be looking at three facets of the father’s heart: his compassion, confession, and celebration.


Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons.  The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’  So he divided his property between them.  A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.  When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs.  He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything.  But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger!  I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’  So he set off and went to his father.  But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:11-20 NRSV)

In this first section, we are going to consider the compassion of the father.  To add context to this, you have a son who has previously asked for his share of the inheritance.  The father has granted it to him, and the son heads off to go live it up and party hearty.  That is, until the money runs out and the fun is over.  He then finds employment doing the most degrading job a Jew could imagine and that is to feed the pigs, which were better fed than he was, and that’s not saying much.  Having reached the end of his rope, he decides to come home but feels great shame and unworthiness at the same time.  Having run out of options he feels that maybe his father would accept him back as a servant on his property.

One thing that we need to understand is that a son who asked for his share of the inheritance was essentially saying to his father, “I wish you were dead.”  This would have been unthinkable, and it would have scandalized their family in front of the whole village.  In fact, a father was expected to shun a child that asked for such an outrageous request.  For all intents and purposes, that son was now considered dead.

In the event of the son’s return, it was likely that the people of this town saw him coming.  Knowing the disgrace and shame he has caused his father, it is likely he would have been treated harshly upon his return.

But then we see the father in the story.  The father sees the son from far off.  Perhaps he is seeing a commotion.  Perhaps the father has been keeping an eye out for him this whole time.  We don’t know.  What we do know is, he takes off running, most likely with robes lifted past his knees — a shameful way for a man to expose himself.  Suddenly, the son is no longer the focal point, and it’s the very scandal of their father’s running and exposure of skin that hides the shame of the prodigalThe father would rather bear the shame than to see it upon his son.

The Father likely knew what kind of condition his prodigal son would have been in, and he responded with compassion.  Similarly, God saw humanity distancing itself from him.  He saw our lostness, our guilt and shame and had compassion on us.

  • Romans 5:8 says that,  “while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
  • Echoing this, Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”  He took our shame and nailed it to the cross.


Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”  But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe — the best one — and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.” (Luke 15:21-22 NRSV)

In this section we are going to look at the confession of the father.  No, I did not say that incorrectly.  Did you notice in verse 22 that it indicates that it wasn’t the son’s attempt at confession that moved the heart of the father.  In fact, he interrupts the son’s bumbling attempt at confessing.  The son presupposes his disqualification as son, but the father throws him a party instead.

We see that the father even kisses his son.  According to their customs, a kiss would have signified a death to the past as well as approval.  Both of which the prodigal son received.

The father has his best robe placed on the son as well as his signet ring and a pair of shoes.  In other words, his past identity as a barefooted slave was now past him, and the father confesses that his son is now worthy of honor (the robe), authority (the ring) and freedom (shoes).

Today as God’s children we wear the robe of righteousness that is ours in ChristWe have been sealed with the Holy Spirit which acts as our engagement ring to assure us that we will receive everything promised to us.  And we are told by the Apostle Paul as well that, “It is for freedom that we have been set free.”  The Heavenly Father confesses about us being included in Christ.   Do we know our place in him?   Have we truly looked into all that is ours by being placed in Christ?


And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!  And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:23-24 NRSV)

In the last two verses we are looking at the celebration of the father.  Now, if the party were supposed to just include his immediate family, then a goat would have sufficed quite nicely.  But instead, we see the father instructing them to kill the fattened calf.  This would have fed the entire village.  As Jesus pointed out to the pharisees earlier in this chapter, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7)

There was an old story that many have heard, there are even songs related to the story.  A son had left his village as a disgrace.  He had brought shame and dishonor to his family.  He went to live in a big city and to get away from the situation that he had caused in his village.  After a while he began to miss his family but was unsure as to whether he would be welcomed home or not.  He wrote to his father to let him know that he was taking the train back home to his village.  He told his father that if he is still welcome to come home, then the father should place a yellow flag at the train station near their village.  The son indicated that if he did not see the yellow flag then he would stay on the train and keep going.

When the train came near to the village, the son was extremely nervous.  He was afraid to even look out the window as he feared the worst.  But when they got within a mile of the train station, he peered out the window and saw something that he couldn’t even imagine.  Lining the street were dozens of yellow flags leading to the train station.  There were flags on fences, flags in trees, flags on people’s rooftops and a grand assortment of yellow flags at the station itself.

The father was so overjoyed to have his son back that he made his joy unmistakable.  Think of how the father felt as he went around to all of his neighbors to get permission to plant flags on their properties, their trees, fences, and on their roofs.  This shows a father who is only thinking of how much he wants the son to know that he is forgiven and then to celebrate the reunion.

Just as the prodigal son being brought back to life was the cause of the father’s celebration, in the same way our Heavenly Father rejoices over humanity being placed in the Son of God. The heart of the Father is to see us truly live as who we are: honored, favored, and free children of God.  

Let’s sum this up. First, the father was moved by compassion for the son. Rather than having his son bear shame and guilt, the father covers it up and places it on himself.  Likewise, Jesus, who is one with the Father, goes to the cross in our place and takes our shame and guilt upon himself, fulfilling the Father’s compassion for us

Second, despite the prodigal son’s attempt at confession, it is the confession of the father welcoming this son fully back into the family that gets the attention. Though we are instructed to confess our sins, it is not an attempt to get into God’s good graces.  We are already in (God’s good graces) because of Christ, who has confessed that he will draw all people to himself.   We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

And lastly, the father celebrated the son’s return in grand fashion.  And in Christ, the heart of the Father was pleased to welcome us into his great fellowship between Father, Son and Spirit where the celebration will continue without end.



Small Group Discussion Questions

  • Think of a time when you did something foolish(sinful). What was it that brought you around to confess what you did?
  • Name a time when you witnessed God’s extravagant love towards either you or someone else.
  • Considering Jesus’ description of the Father’s heart, do we sometimes still feel unworthy to approach God?
  • If so, why?
  • How might our lives be different if we were convinced that we wear the robe of righteousness at all times?
  • How does it make you feel to see others being rejoiced over when you think that your own efforts have gone unrecognized?






  1. What is the Gospel?   
  2. Is the Gospel about something that can be done … or something that has been done?   
  3. Is the Gospel about good news for all … or good news for some?   
  4. What is the “good news”?   
  5. What was the “bad news”?   
  6. Why do you think God made Man?   
  7. What would you say was/is Man’s biggest problem?   
  8. How did God solve that problem?  
  9. What is Man’s potential?




1.   What is the Gospel?   

  • NOUN
    1. the teaching or revelation of Christ.
      “it is the Church’s mission to preach the gospel”
      synonyms: Christian teaching · Christ’s teaching · the life of Christ ·
      • a thing that is absolutely true.
        “they say it’s sold out, but don’t take that as gospel”
        synonyms: the truth · the whole truth · the naked truth · gospel truth ·
      • a set of principles or beliefs.
        “the gospel of market economics”
        synonyms: doctrine · dogma · teaching · principle · ethic · creed · credo ·
    2. the record of Christ’s life and teaching in the first four books of the New Testament.
    3. a fervent style of black American evangelical religious singing, developed from spirituals sung in Southern Baptist and Pentecostal Churches.

2.   Is the Gospel about something that can be done … or something that has been done?   

  • TRUE/FALSE:  The traditional gospel is about something that can be done.
  • TRUE/FALSE:  The Gospel of Christ is about something that HAS BEEN done.

3.   Is the Gospel about good news for all … or good news for some?   

  • TRUE/FALSE:  The traditional gospel is good news for SOME people.
  • TRUE/FALSE:  The Gospel of Christ is good news for ALL people.
  • From the GCI Equipper … article by Rick Shallenberger …Who are others in relation to Jesus?  Again the answer is simple and profound.  They are saved, they are forgiven, they are reconciled.  The sad truth is many don’t know this yet.  They live in darkness because they haven’t been brought into the light.  Jesus invites us to bring them into the light.  He invites us to reveal the truth of who they are and help them leave shame and guilt behind.  He invites us to help them understand they are loved, they are worthy, they are valued.  He invites us to stand beside those who are hurting and give them comfort.  He invites us to stand up for those who are mistreated because they need to know they are valued.  He invites us to see others as he sees them, to see his love and compassion for them and then act accordingly.  Because we know Jesus, we want others to know him as well.  We want them to live in the truth of who they were created to be.  We are compelled by love to love others.  This is the foundation of the Love Avenue.  

4.   What is the “good news”?   

  • Man’s problem can be solved.
  • Man’s problem has been solved.
  • Man’s problem will be solved.

5.   What was the “bad news”?   

  • Man had a problem that he couldn’t solve.

6.   Why do you think God made Man?   

  • After God made birds and bees, flowers and trees according to their image (Gen.1:11-13,20-25)
  • He made Man “in the image of God” (Gen.1:26-28)

7.   What would you say was/is Man’s biggest problem?   

  • Isaiah 59:1-2

8.   How did God solve that problem?  

  • John 3:16-17

9.   What is Man’s potential?   

  • 2 Corinthians 5:18-21



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