66 The Fable of the Fabulous Forgiving Father Part 1
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Join us as we look at Jesus' best description of the heart of the Father and let it change your life forever. Our prayer is that you too will believe what the Father says about you and see yourself as a son or daughter of the Father, no longer a slave that needs to repent or change in some way.
Come and join in the celebration and experience joy everlasting.
The Fabulous FORGIVING Father
I have been thinking of writing a story to tell how wonderful God is and then I realized its already been written in Luke 15, the so Prodigal Son story.
The Fable of the Forgiving Father
Feeling footloose and frisky a featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over his fraction of the family fortune. He flew far to foreign fields and frittered the francs and farthings, feasting fabulously with faithless friends. Finally, facing famine and fleeced by his fellows in folly he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing, he feign would have filled his frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments. "Phooey, my father's flunkeys fare far fancier", the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly. Frankly facing facts, frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding, he fled forthwith to his father and family. Falling at his father's feet, he floundered forlornly "Father I have flunked and forfeited family favour." But the fabulous, faithful, forgiving father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkeys to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast. The fugitive's fault finding family fellow, frowned on fabulous forgiveness for former failure. His fury flashed but fussing was futile in view of father's favour. The far-sighted father figured: "Filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivity? Unfurl the flags with flaring fanfares, let fun and frolic freely flow, for the fugitive is found." So, with former failure forgotten, and folly forsaken, forgiveness firms the foundation for future fortitude. So, family and friend, forget not in future failure or fun filled festivity the fabulously, faithful and forgiving father for faith is fattened in this fitting fable. All stories are stories. The more we think some are exactly true, the less we understand the nature of truth and stories. Jesus loved to tell stories about life and attitudes. His stories were probably made up as he went along but they were the product of the insights of love and compassion and thus are classic works of art. Take a look with us at the story of Karama and Zov. The story of two brothers Karama the older, believed in the protestant work ethic. No pain—no gain. Zov was a playboy. All work and no play, makes Zov a dull boy—all day. The names come from Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov"—a study into the unfairness of human suffering. Jesus starts a trilogy of stories about lost things in Luke chapter 15 as follows: Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and teachers of the law muttered, >This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.= 3 Then Jesus told them this parable.@ Firstly, about the lost sheep, then the lost coin, and finally about the father who loved his lost sons. Find yourself in the parable. Sinner, Pharisee, kind parent, servant, son, brother, daughter, where do you fit in? 11 "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate." So, he divided his property between them. The division would be unequal. Karama, the older brother, would have received a double share. So the younger received at most, one third of the estate. It was most likely Zov, the playboy, who would have also been the father’s favourite. Always chasing excitement, bubbling with life, jokes and irresponsibility. Why did he want to leave? Maybe Karama made life unbearable for Zov. Karama was very much into responsibility and work. Early to bed and early to rise. Karama’s later attitude suggests that he may have contributed in a significant way Zov’s decision to leave. Would you divide your estate while still alive? Or will you hang on to what you have, in the home, in the church, in the community? Are you a life president? 13 Not long after that, the younger son got together all that he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his field to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he came to his senses. "When he came to his senses" - God's respect for the sinner. No force, no violation of the individual's personal freedom. The father was waiting for this moment! Had been waiting for all those months, and years!
He said, "How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! Zov recognised his need. Zov is the lost sheep - he knows he is lost. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son. Well Zov did this right. There is no record of him taking a shower, stealing or borrowing new clothes, getting himself good enough to go home. He went just as he was. In the East - great men do not run. In the East - old men do not run. It is undignified and in bad taste. The Father has not run anywhere for any purpose for 40 years. All the street urchins will laugh and the more sober citizens will smile inwardly at this disgrace but the father's compassion and love made all that irrelevant. Compassion cuts through culture and custom, gentility, and gender and gets to the hurting heart of the person. He threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 The son said to him 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer to be called your son.' Zov knows his Dad. He says he is no longer worthy to be son but calls his father—DAD. That is faith. Knowing the kindness and acceptance of Dad. 22 But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Best robe, ring, sandals, feast - each is a sign of position and acceptance. Joseph was given Pharaoh=s robe and ring to show his position and status as prime minister of Egypt (Gen. 41:42). In the passage in Zechariah 3, Joshua the High Priest is clothed with a robe to indicate acceptance. In heaven there will be linen robes woven by Jesus in the loom of humanity for us (Rev 19:8) The robe signified - richness, the ring - regal authority. A signet ring meant he was part of the family, and sandals showed class, slaves were barefoot, and the feast meant joy! 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
Heaven is joyful. Heaven rejoices and celebrates over every sinner that repents (Luke 15:7, 10, 23, 24, 25). AWas dead and is alive@, sounds like resurrection to me. That is what happens as far as Jesus is concerned. There is salvation from the slavery of selfishness and rescue from rank rebellion! Forgiveness is more than the remission of the penalty it is a restoration of a relationship. Forgiveness does not grudge. No, forgiveness celebrates! It is the fattened calf. In a parallel Buddhist parable the son is required to go through extensive discipline to prove his repentance is genuine. In Jesus' story the party begins because of the joy! In Jewish thought, forgiveness was earned by repentance and contrition (Ps 32). In Jesus mind this more a time for celebrating the goodness of God than mourning the meanness of man which we do often enough. Sin has consequences, bad consequences. It spoils relationships, blights our joys, destroys our bodies, wastes our time. Because sin makes life so tragic on this planet, God works to restore and repair as much as He can now. Zov's money was gone, his health would pay the penalty. He would have a different self-image now, but he was home with Dad. 25 Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 'Your brother has come,' he replied and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' 28 The older brother became angry and refused to go in. Meanwhile back on the ranch! Virtue can separate as well as vice can. The parting of virtue is more dangerous because hard working brothers like Karama feel no need! Have you ever been angry over the joy of others? Angry because they enjoy their worship with clapping and dancing and rhythm. "Michael, Saul's daughter, looked through a window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart!" (2 Samuel 6:16). Why do Christians get so angry? Why are we prepared to alienate each other, kill each other, and send each other to hell for differences in the perceptions of truth? Truth is important it sets us free from the deception of falsehood. But, the Spirit of Truth is the guardian of truth and right. We will all differ if we talk and listen long enough. Truth is difficult for us petty, prejudiced earthlings. Don't take your view of truth too seriously Ian Hartley! Listen long, listen hard to the members of the congregation, you will learn many things about God you have never dreamed of!
28 So his father went out and plead with him.
Karama is wrong. Karama is hard hearted. Karama is difficult. His father went out and pled with him. That is the ministry of heaven. When you are wrong, it is time for me to plead with you. When I am wrong it is time for you to plead with me. It is not time to condemn! "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," does not mean there is no condemnation for the goodies. The whole world was incorporated in the death of Christ Jesus. The woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus and he offers no condemnation. Karama is the lost coin, lost at home and knows it not. Father has no condemnation for Karama either! 29 But 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. 30 But when this son of yours who has who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you killed the fattened calf for him!"
There are some conclusions we can make from Karama's speech
Karama believed in salvation by works and obedience.
"All these years I've been slaving and never disobeyed your orders." Karama did not know that family connection is by birth or adoption, it is never earned!
Karama's service was joyless. No goat, no parties. Karama, in his own mind, was a slave. He has a slave mentality. The goats belonged to him. According to vs 12 he got his share of the estate when Zov left. He could have had a party any night of the week. He didn't because ... That is the third point.
Karama felt morally superior to Zov because he did not joy. That is why he did not party. His joyless life gave him the edge, in his mind, over his wicked, worthless, rascal of a younger brother. Am I speaking to myself? Is there someone here who is listening today? Will I be glad if next year's speaker does better than I did? Would I be glad if he or she was boring? I find it a bit embarrassing to ask myself these questions!
Karama was secretly envious of his brothers "fun." "Who has squandered your property with prostitutes." There is no mention of prostitutes earlier in the story. So where does Karama get this from? It comes from his mind, his fantasies, his desires. We condemn best those failures we are most envious of. The celibate church fathers down through centuries have always been hardest on sexual sin. It is the Karama fixation. Jesus was much tougher on cruelty and hypocrisy. Karama and his friends talked about backsliders, divorcees, smokers and druggies. They talked about them but offered little support to strugglers. For Karama and his friends the synagogue was for winners, not a place for struggling sinners. All Karama knew about was discipline and distancing. Listen how he talked about his wounded brother!
Karama excommunicates Zov. "When this son of yours,@ means Karama excommunicates Zov as his brother. This son of yours. Talk about a distancing phenomenon. I wonder where he had learned it. Certainly not from his Father.
31 'My son, 'the father said 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we have had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." "My son." Both boys belonged to the father. They are both sons. They might exclude each other. Dad will have none of it! We leave Dad and Karama in the dark outside the celebration party. I know Dad went in and the wine flowed as he proposed toast after toast at the long table. But I wonder about Karama. Did he come in? So who are you in the story? Who are you? When you are in the Karama mentality will you come in? Some have questioned why the Father did not go searching for his son in the far country. The Father did go and search for the son who did not come into the party. There are times when searching for the son only increases the rebellion. For freedom to exist one has to observe the correct timing for any proposal to be made from free choice.