I am fascinated with Jesus. I want to spend my entire life trying to know him more fully.
Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son (Jesus) is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. If you want to know God, it’s important to start with Jesus.”
Many folks I interact with struggle with this question – “Is God mad at me?”
Most people know, in their head, “God loves me.” But, knowing the right answer doesn’t always resolve the question our soul longs to have answered.
One of the keys to a healthy spiritual life, according to Jesus, is knowing exactly who God really is, what he’s like. In the New Testament, Jesus spends a lot of time working to change people’s minds about this.
Jesus famously told stories to paint the picture. Here is one of my favorites:
There was a man with two sons. The younger son came to the father and asked for his inheritance – tantamount to wishing Dad was dead. So much disrespect. But the father gave the son his share. He packed up, left home and got as far away as he could. He quickly squandered everything on wild living.
Desperate, the young man went to work for a pig farmer. Homeless and starving, the boy spent his days longing to eat the pig’s scraps. This brought him to his senses. He decided to return home and become a servant on Dad’s farm.
This is the brilliance of Jesus – everyone hearing the story knew the way this should go down. Disown the son, rub his nose in it and make it clear just how badly he screwed up. But Jesus paints a different picture.
The father had been waiting, sitting on the porch every night looking out to the horizon, hoping to see his boy come strolling over the hill. One night, he did. And, the father ran to him, embraced him and kissed him.
The boy tried to explain, tried to repent. But all was forgiven. The father was so excited to have his son back, he threw a party to celebrate.
Jesus says, this is what God is like. He is not mad. He is waiting to run to you, kiss you and throw you a party.
I’m going to keep being fascinated with Jesus.
The Rev. Jason Smith is senior pastor at Salida Vineyard Church.