Let's meet Jacob. Jacob is the youngest son of a wealthy farmer. He boldly chooses to ask his father for his inheritance. The father agrees to give him the money and then Jacob takes off for the big city.
Jacob excessively enjoys the “big city” and the temptations it offers. He ends up making quite a few bad choices. So many bad choices that he ends up broke and homeless. When he reaches the point of envying the food that the pigs on the farm are eating, he finally comes to his senses:
Luke 15:17-21 The Message (MSG)
17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.
20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
What a relief for Jacob! After all he had done he was still welcomed into his father’s loving arms.
When Jesus told parables the goal was to communicate a new paradigm with his audience. This time the new way of thinking was, if you are truly saddened of your mistakes, you will be extravagantly welcomed with God’s arms wide open. Isn’t that what our earthly father does for us? He is excited when we learn new lessons. He is happy when he sees growth. He loves us “just because.” We aren’t born with all the knowledge; it is acquired. When we look to both our heavenly Father and our earthly father we know we will find love and extravagant compassion on our journey.
What is really sweet about this parable is that Jacob knew in his heart that his father would accept him. He returned fully aware of all the mistakes he made and he still thought that there was a chance that he would be welcomed by his father. I pray you all have a loving relationship with your earthly father and never forget that your heavenly Father is ALWAYS there for you, too. Whenever. Where ever. No matter what. You are loved. That’s what HIS GRACE is all about!
This week’s Sunday School lesson is in honor of our father’s extravagant compassion! We have simple photo layouts for you to recreate for your dad or grand-dad! You can make a wallet and fill it with chore coupons for him to cash in on. Mix up some warm chocolate chip cookies. Create Father’s Day cards, and posters. We even have super hero candy bar card that you can craft for the hero in your life!