1. Read this verse in the story of the prodigal and ponder the kind of love your heavenly Father has for you.
Luke 15:20: 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, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The father runs...
filled with compassion.
Since this story is an illustration of God's love for us, it tells us that our heavenly Father experiences great joy over the repentance of a sinner. I'm not sure I think about this excitement and joy when I think about God. Do you? It's a wonderful aspect of His love.
2. Read the parable of the lost sheep that is also found in Luke 15, and write down things it tells us about God as our Shepherd.
Luke 15: 3-7: Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 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.
A sheep without a shepherd is open to attack and will not survive. A man without Jesus will die in his sin.
The shepherd loves all of his sheep, but he attends to the life-threatening need of the lost sheep. Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
Again we see the excitement and joy of God over the sheep being found--the shepherd has a party with his friends and neighbors, rejoicing over the recovered sheep. Each new believer is a lost sheep found by the Savior, so my repentance and belief once brought great rejoicing in heaven, as did yours.
Since all of us need to repent, some believe that Jesus used the phrase "ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent" to mean those Pharisees who thought they didn't need to repent.
Find some additional thoughts in this 1-minute Bible Love Note: God is Anxious to Be Found
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted