He does this in lots of ways, but I just goofaw when He does it right in the middle of a verse that has become so familiar that I assume there is nothing more to learn about it.
This past Sunday I had one of those goofaw experiences. My husband was giving the Sunday morning message and God used him to deliver the surprises. Yes, my friends, I learned something from my husband. It can be done, contrary to what we sometimes may think, we CAN learn from them.
By the way, speaking of my husband, I must tell you that I am a very blessed woman and I am so proud of who my husband is and continues to become as a pastor. He has already taught me a great deal and I thank God for him.
Back to what He taught me and my goofaw moment -
The familiar story of the Prodigal son is where we were, Luke 15. Verse 20 is where He hid the surprises. Yes, plural, surprises. There were four and I must share them with you!
And he got up and came to father. But while he was still a long way off his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. --Luke 15:20
Surprise #1- "While he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him". In the verses leading up to this one, the son had been rehearsing what he was going to say to the his dad, how he was going to explain himself. I remember rehearsing what I was going to tell my dad a time or two - sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn't. But, did you see that he never had to say a word? His father felt compassion before one syllable was spoken. The father wasn't looking for an explanation, he was watching for a change in direction, watching for him to come toward him and the compassion for his son began to flow. The son had already acknowledged in his heart what he had done wrong, and his heart changed, and a changed heart changes our direction. His father didn't have to be convinced to feel compassion for him, and God doesn't have to be convinced to feel compassion for you. He loves you and wants you to come in His direction.
Surprise #2-"and ran" - we've heard this part many times too, the father didn't wait for the son to reach him, he ran to his son. But do you realize what this meant? In this culture, the men didn't make a practice of running. They wore long, heavy robes and running was quite a production. To be able run, they had to strap up their robes, or hold their "dress" in one hand while running. Frankly, they probably looked silly running, so they didn't make a practice of it. But the father didn't care if he looked foolish in order to be with his son. Jesus didn't mind looking like a fool for you as He endured Calvary either.
Surprise #3-"and embraced him" - this means he fell upon his neck, which we all can envision, but think about this - The son had left on bad terms and was a disgrace to his father's house and his father's servants. In the culture of this time, when someone disgraced their family as the son did, if they tried to return, the people living there were allowed to stone those who attempted to come back. Often they were stoned to death. Was the father watching for him to return to protect him from stoning? He certainly could have been. And if the father ran to him and fell upon his neck, who would have taken the stoning?
Yes, the father.
My friend, Jesus took your punishment - willingly.
Surprise #4- "and kissed him" - the way this is written in the original tense means that he kissed him over and over and over and over, just like you would a little toddler that you would snatch up and love on. He couldn't get enough of his son......And the Father can't get enough of you.
All of this without a word.
Here's a quick recap:
1-The father has compassion for you before you say a word.
2-Jesus doesn't mind looking like a fool for you!
3-Jesus took our punishment.
4-The Father can't get enough of you!
Just head His direction, sweet sister, - He's waiting for you!