Minister Speaks: What’s God like?
The world has portrayed God as an angry Father who is ready to punish and to judge; a God who no longer cares for us. This is the reason why theodicy questions are on our lips now and again, especially when we go through challenges in life. God, why do you allow this to happen to me; why me?
But this is not the picture of God our Lord Jesus Christ is trying to present. Jesus Christ presents a picture of a loving and compassionate God; a God who is actively out seeking fallen man. This truth of the matter is clearly described in the three parables evangelist Luke presents in chapter 15.
One would wonder what prompted Jesus Christ to tell the parables that deal with lostness — mainly the parable of the lost sheep (vs 3-7), the parable of the lost coin (vs 8-10), and the parable of the lost son (vs 11-32). Well, the context in which the parables were told is found in Luke 14:25. We are told a great crowd followed him. Jesus Christ laid down principles of true discipleship that drove away many of those who were following. But the true disciples kept following him. Among those who remained were also the Pharisees and the Scribes whose objective was not to learn from Jesus, but to accuse him of failing to observe the law such as eating with the sinners.
In fact, tax collectors were among those called “notorious sinners” or “the people of the land” who were rejected by the Jewish society and the religious leaders. But Jesus was the only one who took notice of them and approached them. It is Jesus’ attitude toward the neglected and marginalized that made him a target of the religious leaders. We see them grumbling in verse 2, “This fellow is welcoming notorious sinners and even eating with them.”
Sure enough, Jesus is here displaying the true image of God the Father, creator of heaven and earth. He is a God seeking man. In Isaiah 53:6 the Bible says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Brothers and sisters, this biblical perspective of God our Lord Jesus Christ shows should change our mind and attitude about what God is like and who He is toward humanity. Hosea 11:1 declares, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
God is loving, caring, compassionate and ready to make the first step out to look for the lost! Our God is a God of the lost. Look at the image of the shepherd. Isn’t it amazing? When he notices that one among the hundred sheep is lost, he leaves behind 99 sheep and goes out to look for the lost one. The same with this woman who lost the coin. Though she had nine with her, she sweeps the entire house in order to find the lost coin and when she finds it, she rejoices with her neighbors. What about the lost son? When he returns to his father, there is joy in the house. The father does not wait for his son to enter the house, but he goes out to welcome him! This is the image of the God we serve. He loved us first by sending His only Son Jesus Christ to look for the lost.
God is not an angry God who is ready to punish. He is the one who calls us to repentance. He is the one who rejoices when we hear His voice calling, and He is the one who sets the table for you and me to share the meal as a symbol of His intimate relationship with His creation. What’s God like for you?