The Good News


It’s getting close to Christmas Day and the excitement of that moment in time is, for most of us, a pleasure that we anticipate every year. We remember a child born into the world as God’s greatest gift to humanity. The call to us all, to make the journey back home to His love and family, a new family of people called out of every tribe and nation with the explicit purpose of loving the Father and each other.

The Christmas story, a historical event that has not finished, but continues in the lives of those who come home also remembers the first family feud in the Garden of Eden. It was Adam and Eve who first disrupted the family and decided it was time for them to go it alone and be the masters of their own destiny. They rebelled and disobeyed God with disastrous consequences.

The question that I always hear thinking people ask is “why did God allow Adam and Eve to disobey and sin with such a terrible outcome for this world”

The usual answer is simple “God wanted Adam and Eve to love Him and so being given a free will they always had the chance of disobeying God”

I think there is truth in that answer, but I don’t think it answer completely the problem. You know I love my children but I try and remove as much of the danger that I can from their reach. So what was going on in the garden with a tree that was obviously accessible and tempting to the eye?

In the book of Romans Chapter 11 verse 32, Paul declares

“For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all”

Here we have an answer to the question of why

God wants His all humanity to understand, comprehend, experience the wonderful depths of His mercy and its to that end He, in fact more than that, has planned and predestined every member of the human race to experience that wonderful mercy. There is no other way to experience His mercy and therefore we are all consigned to disobedience for the purpose of receiving His free gift of mercy.

Let’s take a look a famous parable taught by Jesus.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-13

And He (Jesus) said, “A man had two sons.  “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me”.  So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

At the time of Jesus an estate was divided up into three and split between the two sons with the older getting a double portion or two thirds or the controlling share. So the fathers younger son demands his share of the estate, but stop, the father isn’t even dead yet and he can choose not to give this son what he asks. This father surely knew his son and would have known that the outcome of giving in to his demands would not be good for him. I don’t think the father for one-minute thought that his son would use the money wisely but despite this he gives the son the inheritance.

“For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all”

Luke 15:14-21

“Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!

‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”‘

“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

The son went off and did as his father expected and being reduced to poverty he came to his senses or experienced a revelation of truth. Humbled he decided to return to his father without assuming he could be anything more that a servant and expecting nothing less.

His expectant father saw his son in the distance and knew this was his opportunity to show his son great mercy and in the excitement of that opportunity ran to meet his son with hugs and kisses.

And this loving and merciful father said –

Luke 15:22-24

“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

The father’s mercy now fully revealed in the reinstatement of his son back into the family and now a son of revelation and transformed by the mercy of his father.

How do we know that there was a transformation of the younger son’s character by this experience of mercy. Well let’s take a look at the older son.

Luke 15:25-32

“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be.

And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’

“And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.

‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

Hear the voice of the older son “Look! For so many years I have been serving you” in some translations it says, “slaving for you” and this is the attitude of the older son and it was most likely the attitude of the younger son, until the younger son had received his father’s mercy.

Whilst we live without the knowledge and experience of God’s mercy, we will inevitably consider Him to be nothing more than a ruler who slavishly demands our obedience, and we will remain dead without a life that was always our inheritance in Him.

It’s at this time that we remember the endless mercies of God and the great expanse of his love for all humanity.

Yes He has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on all

Maybe this year you will realise that you have a life that is spiritually dead and that you need to begin to live.

God wants you to realise that you are missing from the family of God, and that God’s great mercy and love has already found you.

He found you when he gave His life for you on a cross making your return to Him as simple as the decision to come home. Do you know the love and mercy of the cross embraces and kisses you even now.

Come Home to the mercy of your Father this Christmas.

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