Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, June 8, 2014


“You are my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with you,” Jesus heard His heavenly Father say at His baptism. The sensation of warmth and affection most likely flooded His soul as His smiling face gazed heavenward. Such words can certainly booster confidence! I’m sure those words strengthened Jesus as the Holy Spirit led Him into the hot and dusty desert for forty days, where Satan tested and mocked Him. Even though He grew hungry and probably frustrated, daily His Father supplied nourishment and sustained Him in the wilderness. 

Jesus bore the highs and lows of human life. He encountered all types of situations and reactions from people, witnessing various emotions and experiencing them as well. From the love and friendship of His closest friends and family to the death of them as well, He lived as we do (Luke 1:5-45, Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-44, Matthew 3:1-17, Matthew 14:1-13 - these are references about Jesus and John the Baptist, Jesus and Mary, Martha, Lazarus). 

Soon after Jesus’ departure from the desert, He traveled through Galilee teaching God’s words to crowds of people. He later entered His hometown of Nazareth and participated in worship at the synagogue. The book of Luke (4:16-21) records Jesus as He stood before an audience and read from Isaiah 61:1-3. When He closed the book and sat down, He declared to the listeners that He fulfilled those Scriptures. As you read the passage from Isaiah below, imagine what thoughts developed within the spectators’ minds.  

The Spirit of the Almighty Lord is with me
    because the Lord has anointed me
        to deliver good news to humble people.
    He has sent me
        to heal those who are brokenhearted,
        to announce that captives will be set free
            and prisoners will be released.
He has sent me
    to announce the year of the Lord’s good will
        and the day of our God’s vengeance,
        to comfort all those who grieve.
He has sent me
    to provide for all those who grieve in Zion,
        to give them crowns instead of ashes,
            the oil of joy instead of tears of grief,
                and clothes of praise instead of a spirit of weakness.
They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,
    the Plantings of the Lord,
        so that he might display his glory.
(God’s Word Translation or GW)

What are your thoughts as you read Jesus’ words? Possibly at some point in your life thorny words like unworthy, stupid, ugly, slow, fat, skinny, worthless, or idiot pierced your heart and the pain remains to this day. The application of His words to your soul could be like salve to a gaping wound. Jesus, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, offers balm for troubled spirits, release for imprisoned souls, comfort for grief, joy instead of sorrow, and a crown instead of ashes. Yet we wonder—can He really transform my ashy life into beauty?

Yes, Jesus can transform us because He says so! He came to release and heal captives of misery through the great exchange at the cross. He takes upon Himself our tears and grief and gives us His love and peace (John 14:27, 1 John 3:1). He comes to sweep away the ashes from the fires that have burned us and cover us with His beauty. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we can be reborn and live anew in this life (description below).* But remember the phoenix is a mythical bird; it is the grace of Jesus Christ that gives us new life. And because He is such a gentleman and gives us free choice, He waits for us to make the decision for Him to enter our lives and clean us up.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

He’s knocking: will you let Him in? Down deep inside of us females is a little girl who wants to be a princess. Allow your Prince to enter your heart, sweep out the ashes, and beautifully crown you with His love. If you listen closely, you can even hear Him singing over you with joy (Zephaniah 3:17).

Below are Scripture verses to meditate on; submit to God’s grace and let the power of His words heal your hurts. 

[ [Groom] ] Look at you! You are beautiful, my true love! Look at you! You are so beautiful! Your eyes are like doves! Song of Solomon 1:15 (GW)
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces the good news, “All is well.” He brings the good news, announces salvation, and tells Zion that its God rules as king. Isaiah 52:7 (GW)
How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them? As Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who announce the Good News.” Romans 10:15 (GW)
Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me. Indeed, my inheritance is something beautiful. Psalm 16:6 (GW)
Then you will be a beautiful crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal crown in the hand of your God. Isaiah 62:3 (GW)

Worship Jesus with praise as you listen to Him singing to you through Francesca Battistelli”s “Beautiful, Beautiful.”

Now hear Him say to you the words below, reciting them with Him, and believe Him! We thank you, Jesus, for loving us so........
You are my child.
You are a daughter of the King.
You are forgiven.
You are loved. 
You are upheld in the palm of my Hand. 
You are never alone.
You are not forsaken.
You are blessed.
You are freed from you chains.
You are filled with my Holy Spirit.
You are a new creature in Christ.
You are a light to the world.
You are my beloved.

“A phoenix is a mythical bird with a colorful tail. Near the end of its life, it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises, reborn, anew to live again.”

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