previously on “Transformation Hour”
The Love of the Father
Exile and Restoration
-our world system is built to enslave
-from commercialization, to music cultures, to the big screen
JesusthetrueSon (Download PDF)
Big Brother’s Portion
When the prodigal son returned home, he received a blessing not of his own, but a blessing of mercy from his father. The blessing he received is of his brother’s account. At the end of the story, the big brother refused to enter the party because he’s having to share his portion. He was faithful all this time and now he’s having to share with his sinful and wasteful brother.
Luke 15: 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
Jesus while telling this story was in the company of Pharisees and teachers of the law. The Pharisees and teachers were much like the Pastors of today. It was understood in those times that the only way to be righteous (or be in good and right standing with God) before God was to know the law and practice it. These teachers knew the law and instead of teaching what they knew to the people, they lorded over them. Instead of teaching the people the ways of righteousness, they held what they knew to themselves and simply looked down on everyone else for not knowing.
So throughout the three parables of Luke 15, Jesus was showing what it really means to teach, love, and shepherd the lost sheep: the ones who have wondered away from God. Being a shepherd might mean getting dirty and literally carrying that sheep on your shoulders. Jesus was really teaching what it means to search for that worthless coin. But the paradox is this, when the worthless is found the angels rejoice.
And it is so that Jesus takes the story a bit further. Now that the big brother has entered the scene, it is apparent who he represents. The big brother’s attitude is representative of the Pharisees and teachers. The Pharisees and teachers are called as leaders and shepherds of the people of Israel. This parable was a huge indictment against them, because they were not living up the the responsibility as big brother. In the story, though the brother should have been there to greet his brother, it was the father who lost his dignity to save the worthless son. All the father really asked of the son was for him to celebrate, come in and greet the guests, and welcome your brother, but even that was too much to ask. The big brother, who was with the father all this time, had now become the prodigal.
Though I’ve been lost and sin has made me worthless, I am glad that I have a father who loves me with an everlasting love. I am glad that I also have a big brother, Jesus Christ, who took the punishment of a rebellious son (rebellious sons are stoned outside the village) so that I might live again in the house of my heavenly Father. Not only that, he took the punishment of a sinful and rebellious world so that we might all live in the house of God.
Jesus the only Remnant
Throughout the ages, the Israelites, the people of God, did evil in the sight of the Lord for which they were punished. Often this punishment included being ruled over by a foreign nation, simply because God cannot protect a sinful nation. The Lord Jehovah would lift his hand of mercy and protection from and allow other nations to triumph over Israel. This period of time is referred to as exile. And throughout the ages, Israel would recognize its wrong and repent, coming back to the Lord just like our prodigal son. The Lord would hence restore them back to their former place in him. This act of God is referred to as restoration. But through every exile and restoration, not everyone would return from exile. There are some who preferred living in the land of their exile, instead of returning to the promised land. Many would find wives and settle down in the foreign lands. The ones who returned were referred to as the “true Israel” because they were true and loyal to Israel. Being true and loyal to Israel meant being loyal to the covenant that God had set in place for them in this promise land. They were also referred to as the remnant of Israel (those who remained), or in metaphoric language, the vine. The metaphor of the vine was used simply because out of the great tree that was Israel, only a single vine of people remained loyal to the covenant.
13 Boars from the forest ravage it
and the creatures of the field feed on it.
14 Return to us, O God Almighty!
Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15 the root your right hand has planted,
the son you have raised up for yourself.
And through every exile and restoration, that number would slowly decreased and hence got smaller and smaller. Until finally the time of Jesus, when he solemnly declared in John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Jesus is the only true Israel left. He is the only remnant left. The Pharisees and sinners have all become prodigals, but Jesus is the true big brother and true Son. He is the only one who has not sinned and who has lived all of the 600+ laws of God to its fullest.
I said all that just to make this one point. And I pray that the Spirit of truth will reveal all to you. The point is this: You and I are all sinners. We were born into a world system that has enslaved us (commercialization, music culture, the big screen). But through repentance we can return to our Heavenly Father. But unlike the story, our big brother, Jesus Christ, is there to greet us with his nail pierced hands open wide. Not only that, in order for us to be restored we must share the inheritance of our big brother. And guess what? He wants to share his inheritance. The inheritance of Jesus Christ is endless and eternal and he wants to share it with me. He wants to share it with us. Even though we spent our inheritance and have become worthless, he still opens up the store house and gives freely. But how is Jesus able to do this? By dying on the cross. Jesus died so that we might gain his inheritance. He took sin upon himself, died, and conquered sin. Now we who are lost in our sins can now partake of the victory Jesus achieved.
In Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
The father has a will and purpose for Jesus Christ. We who were once lost and dead have regained son-ship and our inheritance comes through our big brother Jesus. Our blessing comes through him. Our salvation comes through him. Our honor, our freedom, and our authority comes through Jesus. But don’t be fooled. The inheritance we receive is still according to the will and purpose God has for his first son, Jesus. In other words, God the Father had a will and purpose for Jesus and the inheritance we receive is according to that will and purpose.
What is God’s will and purpose for Jesus? Ephesians 1:9-10 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. The purpose of Jesus Christ was made evident on the Cross. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ removed the dividing wall of sin so that all things in heaven and on earth may be united in the Father. The cross is God’s will for Jesus. It was for Christ to die on the cross. And what Jesus did on the cross makes redemption now possible for humanity and the entire creation. The Lion will lay down with the lamp. Because there will be everlasting peace and of the Kingdom of God there will be no end.