When you read the three parables of Luke 15 – three parables that Jesus uses to stand down the rule-oriented, intolerant religious people of his day – they all end with a BIG party. The Shepherd brings home the lost sheep and throws a party. The woman finds the lost coin and throws a party. The lost son returns and his dad throws a party.
They all gather their friends and neighbors to rejoice. The word translated “rejoice” literally means to jump up and spin in the air with delight. It’s a big raucous celebration!
Okay – so let’s recap. In these parables, God’s heart is breaking because we’ve wandered away from God. When we either let God find us and pick us up or see God running toward us, there is no condemnation. Nor is there a punishment. Nor is there a “better do better speech.” All we really do is say “yes” to our creator. Yes! I want to know you – to be transformed by your love – to love others like you love me! Yes! Yes! Yes! God can’t wait to scoop us up or throw loving arms around us. And then God throws a party complete with cool clothes, good food, dancing, and music. I am not making this up. Read Luke 15!
This party, where the friends and neighbors of God gather, is what the Kingdom of God is all about. There is really no sense hanging out with religious people who are intolerant, rule-oriented, judging, and condemning. Find the ones that understand the Kingdom of God is like a party. Hang out with them – because God is in their midst:
“The LORD your God is in your midst. . . He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice (jump in the air and spin around!) over you with shouts of joy! (Zep 3:17 NAS)