Way to Life-Lesson 4a
Find Hope: God’s Love and Mercy to People Who Return to Him
Introduction: In our study of the Bible the last two weeks, we have looked at how God created the world and all living things, including people. We have also seen that He has given people the choice to love and obey Him, or reject Him. Unfortunately, when given that choice, people chose to reject God. Even as Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, we also taste that fruit in our lives as we experience the pain of evil done by others and ourselves.
This week we will continue to look at how God responds to His creation, specifically humanity, which has rejected Him, and is reaping the consequences of that rejection.
Question: After a person has treated God badly and offended Him, what would that person have to do to be accepted by God? How would he/she become God’s friend, and experience God’s care?
Some vital information: What is the New Testament?
Who is Jesus?
Who is Luke?
The “Tax-collectors” (15:1) were Jews who collect taxes for Rome. Other Jews viewed them as traitors. They were also known to charge the people more money than the tax required, and grew wealthy off the extra.
The “Pharisees and teachers of the law” (15:2) were the religious leaders of Jesus’ time. They were strict in following the laws and traditions of the Jews, and looked down on those who did not follow as strictly as they did.
An “estate” or “inheritance” (15:12) was property and other wealth parents owned that they could pass on to their children when the parents died.
“Pigs” (15:15) were animals that Jewish people considered to be “unclean,” or dirty, and spiritually contaminating. Jewish law prohibited Jews from eating or keeping pigs. A job caring for pigs was a most repulsive, humiliating kind of work.
”Heaven” (15:18) was a respectful term to refer to God when a person felt that God’s name was too holy (pure and honorable) to say directly. Jesus uses the term in verse 7, like He does in verse 10, to mean the place where angels and other spirit creatures live in the direct presence of God. So in verse 7 both God and the angels have joy.
“Ring” and “sandals” (15:22 were privileges of a free man. Slaves were kept barefoot. A ring given to a son or governing official could show his position and authority among family members and servants, or in a government. That ring showed that the son was restored to a higher status than the household servants.
Read Luke chapter 15
(We will be focusing on the story of the father and his two sons in our discussion today.)
3. Jesus told this story to illustrate truths about the nature of God, human nature, and our lives. Apply this story to your life. Where do you get all the resources necessary for life? Who originally produced all that is in the world for you to use?
5. Looking at the son’s actions, what did he value, and what were his priorities? What did he desire most of all, and what did he not appreciate? (15:12,13)
6. Do you think modern people value relationship with God, a Heavenly Father, highly? Or, do they value His gifts (everything good in the world—wealth, pleasure, friends, nature, recognition from others…) more? What do you value most in life?
9. How did the son’s thinking, attitudes and actions change in 15:17-20?
10. The son hoped that his father would take him back on what basis? Since the son now did not deserve a place in the home, why would the father let him come back? (15:19)
12. The father saw the son while he was still a long distance from the house. What may the father have been doing to make him see the son before he arrived? Based on his actions, how did the father feel about the son?
13. The son was dressed in rags. He was dirty from the pig pen and morally dirty from his careless, pleasure-seeking life. How did the father respond to this ruined person who was trying to approach him? See 15:20.
14. How would you feel if you were the son in this story?
16. If the father in this story is a picture of God, what have you learned about Him through this story? Do you think God will accept you if you go to Him in the same condition and attitude that the son went to his father?