Luke 15:7 ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent’.
Over the past few months, we have come from Genesis through to Revelation seeing the promise of the offspring to come and the fulfilment of paradise that he brings. Along the way we have explored who God is and who we are in relation to the promised offspring.
The more we consider Christ the more we see that our identity is tied up in who He is and what he came to accomplish.
Whoever we are, we are all somehow transfixed on our identity. From an early age we explore ‘what am I going to be when I grow up’ it seems to be one of the first questions that an adult asks us and for many of us our frustrations revolve around the fact we have no idea.
Amazingly the loss we feel inside regarding our identity is found throughout scripture. For me this is one of the convincing realities of scripture, if God made us then He alone will know who he made us to be and the purpose he had in mind when making us.
Doesn’t this bring assurance to your heart, that if God created us then he must have had a purpose. We are more than we appear. In our culture today we go from extremes either our logic defines all we see around us and the greater thinker we are the more power we think we have to decide how others should live however on the other extreme we have relegated humanity to lowest of the low willingly degrading one another.
In our verse today Jesus had been challenged by the teachers and authorities of the law to take sides between those who are worthy and those who are not. These teachers of the law thought they had the right to define who belonged and who didn’t. In Jesus wisdom he would use a story to challenge wrong thinking by challenging the heart of the person asking the question.
Jesus challenges that same thinking today, who defines who we are and our purpose for being here? Is it ourselves, can we really pick and choose who we want to be? What gives us that right? If we came into existence through accidental fusion of chemicals then what does it matter? However, if we came into existence, as the bible says, through the will and power of God then surely, He is the one who defines who we are and what we are here for.
I don’t know about you but I find today’s verse so reassuring on many levels. ‘‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents’. Why would Jesus say this, why is there rejoicing in heaven when we realise that we have gone away from the original purposes we were created for?
Jesus is telling us that God himself is rejoicing because his child has returned to Him. This is the core identity of us all, that originally we were created to be the children of God, to belong to Him, to be guided by Him, to enjoy Him, to be loved by Him, the benefits of having God as our Heavenly Father exceeds anything we can ever imagine. The longing we all have whether a lack of satisfaction, a yearning for something more, the grass is greener on the other side feeling all stems from the loss of our Heavenly Father.
Our souls know there is something missing, someone missing just as a child who has been adopted has a yearning to meet their birth parent, our souls have a yearning to come back to the one who made us, to become the child we were created to be.
What are we repenting of? The desire to live life the way we want without thought for the one who gave us the gift of life.
And what do we get in return? A Father who knows us better than we know ourselves, a Father who gives us identity, a Father who provides without question, a Father who gave his Heavenly Son so that his earthly children can come back to Him.
Then and only then do our souls find the peace they have been looking for and our whole being lives a life filled with satisfaction, fulfilment, and purpose.