The God Question

Although it has been over 20 years ago, I can still remember the moment like it was yesterday. I knew what had to be done but I was scared. Terrified, actually. I don’t know how long I stood there before I finally went to simply ask someone to pray for me. In this unexpected circumstance, God was calling me to repent of living selfishly and sinfully. Living this way was the foundation of my life, so the fear of what my life would look like if I truly followed Jesus almost paralyzed me. 

What would my friends think?

What would my girlfriend think?

What would I do for fun?

Could I really trust God? 

You see, the last question was the hardest for me. It was in this moment I had to deal with “The God Questions.” What is He like? Can He be trusted? How will He respond to me? Is He worth it?

Though I didn’t know it at the time, the answer to these questions about God would shape the rest of my life and eternity.

As we prepare to look at the story of the prodigal son this week, the passage actually begins with Jesus addressing one of our many “God Questions” even though those around Him weren’t aware. To help explain what I mean, let’s read Luke 15:1-3:

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’ So he told them this parable:”

Jesus is in the middle of a conflict because He receives sinners and eats with them. The religious leaders grumbled because Jesus was not meeting their expectations. So Jesus responds with three parables to teach both the sinners and the Pharisees.
In what I am sure was a surprising twist, Jesus uses these three parables to explain how God responds when sinners repent. Jesus knew the Pharisees didn’t have a grumbling problem; they had a God problem. 

Most of us are probably facing a different situation than Jesus experienced in this passage or me at my conversion. But all of must answer “The God Questions.” These are the answers that shape our life, spur us to godliness, push us to persevere, and bring hope to the hopeless. As we will see in the story of the prodigal son, the answer to certain “God Questions” changes everything.

To make sure you understand Jesus’s answer, prayerfully read Luke 15 all the way through and answer this one question, “How does God respond when sinners repent?”

By Philip Jones

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