What if you were a murder, rapist, thief, child molester…all terrible, sinful things. Then you were caught and found guilty. Sentence pronounced – DEATH!. Just as they are getting the lethal injection ready, the warden runs in to stop everything and lets you know the amazing wonderful news.
He reluctantly(because he, Satan, wants to see you destroyed) explains, the penalty for your crime is death. A perfect person, who owed no penalty, has voluntarily taken your place and will be executed for you. You are free to go as your penalty is Paid in Full (the first blessing). What a great day, but if that was the end of the story, it wouldn’t be that great. Who really wants to date, befriend, hire, hangout with, or marry, a convicted murderer, rapist, thief, child molester.
This is the even more amazing second blessing…the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, Almighty Creator of everything wants to date you, marry you, hang out with you. He trusts you with His kids, possessions…and really loves and wants to get to know you intimately regardless of our sins, past, present, and future.
Today, try to see you the way God sees you. Now look at God with the gratitude and love that He extends to you (if we could even muster 1/1000 the love He gives us – wow). Be glad the story doesn’t end with forgiveness, but rejoice in His second blessing.
Dear Gracious and Merciful Father, I confess my sinful ways before You and thank You for your forgiveness. Thanks for not giving up on me and for Your relentless pursuit of me, especially when I stray way off course. Thanks for the nudging You give me to get back on track, even though at times I see it as adversity, I now realize, you were trying to catch my attention and get me back on the right path toward true peace, freedom, and contentment in Your ways and arms. Please help me be a grateful prodigal son and not be resentful of other prodigals that you also forgive. I pray this in the name of the One who paid the died for me and pursued me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘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 fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.