Saturday Sermon: God delights in showing mercy
One of the most known and beloved stories from Jesus' ministry is his rendering of the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Even our youngest Bible students are familiar with its concept and teaching. But for this article let's take up after the Prodigal left home.
After demanding his portion of the inheritance, the prodigal wasted it all in selfishness and worldliness, but then, the Bible says, the prodigal "came to himself." (Using a more modern phrase would find us saying, "He came to his senses.") He came to his senses and realized his situation. He then decided to return home to beg his father's forgiveness.
The prodigal was not hoping or expecting his father to return all his lost privileges and position - rather, he was simply hoping he could become like a servant in his father's household. However, upon his return, the father would have nothing to do with that option. Instead, his father put a robe his shoulders, a ring on his finger, sandals on his feet, and then, had a fatted calf killed in celebration.
The father delighted in showing mercy to his son. The older brother, however, refused to join in on the celebration, choosing rather to stay away and complain to his father at his earliest opportunity. To say he was angry would be an understatement, and, as he explained to his father, he had never messed up like his brother, yet his father had never thrown a celebration feast for him.
Now, none of us condone what the younger son did. He should never have demanded his inheritance prior to his father's passing. But neither can we condone what the older brother did. I am confident that none of us would follow the lead of the younger, but if we are not careful we can easily find ourselves encased in the same selfish attitude as seen in the older. We can look at the lives of others and think, "That is not fair. I know some mess up more than me, yet God is blessing them. I haven't been as bad as them."
Dear reader, we need to remember that God delights in showing mercy, as did the father of the Prodigal. When from a sincere heart an individual seeks God's mercy, God is faithful. God delights when we ask for his mercy, for in doing so we are acknowledging that such mercy is available from none other.
In Micah 6, we find God's prophet pleading with Israel for them to repentant. They had become so steeped in sin that it was ruining their relationship with Jehovah. However, instead of offering burnt offerings to appease God - Micah called on their to show humility and seek God's mercy.
God still delights in showing mercy. So, let us be a person of mercy and rejoice when God shows mercy to someone who needs it, including us.
Shan Jackson is a minister at the Port Lavaca Church of Christ.