Let’s turn back to Luke chapter 15. And as you know, as I said last week, we usually cover a few verses; but these days we’re endeavoring to cover larger portions of Scripture, and I want to take you back into the fifteenth chapter of Luke, one of the most powerful chapters in all of Holy Scripture. There is a rare theme in preaching. I said this fifteen years ago when we went through the gospel of Luke and came to this chapter. I don’t remember how many messages I preached on this chapter, but I think it was at least ten or more, and I, at the time, said I may be introducing something to you that you never heard of before, namely the joy of God. We think about God in a lot of ways, but normally people don’t think of God as joyful. But God does everything He does for His own joy. It was Jonathan Edwards who said, “God’s single end in redemption is His own joy.” God has a compelling interest in the recovery of sinners for His own joy.
On the other hand, the Scripture says God has no joy in the death of the wicked, Ezekiel 18. Same chapter, “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord. “Therefore, repent and live.” In Ezekiel 33:11, we read, “As I live,” says the Lord God, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why will you die?” No pleasure in the death of the wicked. But God finds joy in the repentance and salvation of sinners.
Listen to Deuteronomy chapter 30: “For the Lord God will rejoice over you if you obey the voice of the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statues which are written in the book of the law and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Prophet Zephaniah says in chapter 3, “The Lord your God is in your midst; He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” We really don’t think about God as shouting with joy, but that’s what Luke 15 is about. It’s about the joy of God in the recovery of sinners.
In chapter 15, verse 1, we get the setting: “Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him.” All the sinners, all the outcasts. The religious elites who are mentioned in the next verse, “The Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’” The self-righteous Pharisees and scribes detested those whom they deemed as sinners. They saw them as outcasts, unclean lowlifes, and they thought that their self-righteous disdain toward sinners was God’s attitude toward sinners. They were, after all, the agents of God. They were God’s representatives in the world, and they expressed the very virtues of God, and they were just sure that God had nothing but disdain for sinners.
Our Lord’s response to them in this chapter is that they didn’t know God at all. They were so far from God that they did not understand that the joy of God is bound up in the salvation of sinners. That’s what this chapter is about. They don’t know God. They don’t know God at all. They don’t represent God. They’re as far from God as you can be.
Our Lord’s response to them is so powerful as to be overwhelming. Verses 3 to 6, He tells them a parable, a parable about a man who lost a sheep and went to find it, and when he found it he gathered his friends and had a celebration. In verse 7, the application of that is this: “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” And by the way, the ninety-nine righteous persons were only righteous in their own eyes. He is saying, “There’s more joy in heaven when one outcast sinner repents than all of you self-righteous people who don’t think you need repentance.” God finds no joy in self-righteousness because He finds no joy in the death of the wicked; and self-righteousness is as wicked as you can get.
He tells another story to drive the point home. In verse 8, a woman has ten silver coins. This would essentially be the whole amount of savings which would secure her future. She loses one of those valuable coins. She finds it. She calls her friends and neighbors to celebrate, and the application comes in verse 10: “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” There’s joy in the presence of the angels of God. And who would be the joyful one in the midst of the angels? God Himself; and the angels would join in that rejoicing.
Every time a soul is saved, every time a sinner is rescued, heaven erupts in joy. That being the case, there’s a nonstop joy in heaven because every moment of every day a sinner somewhere is being redeemed. Heaven is in a constant state of rejoicing. What our Lord is saying to them is, “You would go to a party for a man who found a sheep, you would go to a celebration for a woman who found a coin, but you can’t rejoice over a sinner who is redeemed? How far you are from God. How materialistic you are.”
The stories really make a kind of crushing takedown of these self-righteous leaders. How can you possibly affirm the joy of a rescued animal or a found coin and not celebrate the recovery of an eternal soul? And then He tells the story of all stories. Verse 11: “A man had two sons.” A tale of two sons. Oh, by the way, this is not a story about parenting.
There’s something you will learn about all of Jesus’ parables: they’re always about salvation. And you need to know something about Jewish culture. What dominated Jewish culture was a shame/honor perspective. You tried as well as you could to avoid shame and to acquire honor. The Pharisees and the scribes were the basic repository of the shame/honor culture, and they determined who was shameful and who was honorable. This was the most important cultural distinction in Judaism, so Jesus tells them the most shameful story possible. With the creative genius of His divine mind, He takes shame to its extreme level. This is a story that is as full of shame as any story can get. Shockingly, everyone in this story is shameful, everybody. And as He tells the story, the shame meter in the minds of the Pharisees and the scribes is going up to the very top; everything is shameful. Now let’s see the story.
“A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’” That is a shameful request. So we meet a shameful son. “You’re out of rank. You are the younger son, and you don’t get your inheritance until your father is dead.” Essentially what is this son saying? “I wish you were dead.” Disrespectful, hateful, selfish; and the Pharisees’ antenna would go up and register, “Shame! What son would do that, ‘Give me the share of the estate’?” – tēs ousias, the property, the goods.
And he’s not asking for these things in order that he can manage them and leave even more to the next generation. He’s not asking that his father would make him a caretaker of some of this to increase family wealth. He wants nothing to do with the father. He resents the father. He despises the father. He wants his money, he wants it now, and he wants out. That is the shame of all shames for a son to feel that way about his father. He wants freedom. He wants independence. He wants no accountability. He wants no restraint. He wants no father.
There is just no precedent for this in Judaism. It is outrageous conduct because the Jews knew that God had established, “Honor your parents. You get long life.” The Pharisees and scribes might assume that the next part of the story was the father grabbed him by the cloak and slapped his face. Or, perhaps more likely, the father grabbed him and beat him for such insolence because the father has to protect his honor at all costs. Honor is everything.
But the father doesn’t do that. Back to verse 12, “So he divided his wealth between them.” Oh, now you have a shameful father. What father in his right mind would give that to a son who was so insolent? Another outrage. “This is absurd.” They had to wait until he was dead, and then two-thirds would go to the older one and one-third would go to the younger one if there were only two. But this father is acquiescing to this shameful request of a shameful son. Ridiculous. And the fact that the father gives it makes him dishonorable. And they’re thinking to themselves, “No respectful Jewish boy would so hate his father, and no respectful Jewish father would so hate his son to give him what he wants in such a shameful way.” By the way, the older son’s not around. So the first two people that we meet are shameful.
It gets worse, verse 13: “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.” Essentially what it means is he turned it into cash. I don’t know what the estate would have consisted of in Jewish times. It wouldn’t have been cash. It might have been property. It might have been animals. But he had to liquidate it.
He is not only shameful, he is stupid because he takes his estate and discounts it so he can dump it in a few days. Cheap, fast sale. This is not only a shameful son, this is a stupid son. And he goes into a far country. What’s a far country? A Gentile country. Jews didn’t want to go into Gentile countries. If they did of necessity, when they came back they shook the Gentile dust off their shoes and off their garments.
So what would have happened? What would the Pharisees and scribes be thinking? Well, when the son left there would be an official funeral: “This is no son of mine.” He’s not just shameful, he’s not just stupid, he is wretchedly sinful. He goes into a Gentile country and squandered his estate with loose living. And now the Pharisees and the scribes are just reeling with shock because they can’t even imagine such a foolish boy. This is why he is called the prodigal because prodigal means wasteful. He wanted it now, he liquidated it at a discount, and then he squandered it with loose living.
What was the loose living? Well, we don’t have to wonder, verse 30: “His older brother says to him, “You devoured your wealth with prostitutes, harlots.” And now the Pharisees and scribes are looking for oxygen. They are breathless. This is life at the bottom.
It gets worse, verse 14: “When he had spent everything,” – oh, that too. He liquidates his entire estate with prostitutes. He had control of that, but he doesn’t have control of what’s next. A severe famine occurred in that country and he began to be impoverished.
What happens in a famine? Well, we know historically people eat garbage, they eat stray animals, they eat roadkill, they eat their sandals. He had control of it to start with, and now life has turned on him and there’s something he can’t control.
Verse 15: “He went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country.” Literally it says, “He attached himself.” This indicates that he became a beggar. He became a beggar. And the man to whom he attached himself wanted to get rid of him, we can assume, so he sent him into his fields to feed swine. This would be the outrage beyond outrage because swine were unclean animals. And he didn’t get paid. He didn’t give him anything, nothing. Didn’t pay him, just got rid of him: “Go out and live with the pigs.”
The fact that he had nothing is clear from verse 16: “He would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.” Really, this is getting too ridiculous. This is an impossible story. No Jewish boy would end up feeding pigs and living with pigs and wish he could eat pig food. Pigs were fed carob pods; their digestive system could handle them. The human digestive system could not handle them. So, “He would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods, but he couldn’t eat them because he couldn’t digest them, they would tear up his insides.” So he’s living with pigs in the ultimate and extreme place of shame, starving to death; can’t even eat the pig food. Jesus has just created the most desperate situate imaginable. This? Who is this? This, my friends, is the sinner” poor, hungry, hopeless, going lower and lower and lower, fully to blame, beyond help, and even beyond pity.
The lesson is this: sin is rebellion against the Father. Sin is rebellion against the goodness of the Father and the law of the Father. Sin is more than the absence of a relationship with God. This boy had no relationship with God, that’s true; but sin is far more than the absence of a relationship. It is disdain for God’s person. It is disdain for God’s rule. It is disdain for God’s authority. It is disdain for God’s will. It disdain for even God’s blessings.
Sin is turning against God, shunning all responsibility and all accountability. It is to deny God any place, to hate Him, to wish Him dead rather than love Him. It is to dishonor Him. It is to take all of His loving gifts and life and squander them for nothing but evil desires. It is to run as far from God as you can run. It is to waste your life in self-indulgent dissipation, unrestrained lust, shunning all God’s goodness and even gospel opportunity. Sin is reckless evil. It is selfish indulgence, and it brings destitution and death.
Freedom of the sinner’s will is the most horrible bondage; and sin always looks for fulfillment outside and away from God, never finds it. In fact, sin leaves the sinner exhausted. The rebel is empty, poor, hungry, and hopeless. Yes, the picture is extreme, the most flagrant kind of sin, moral turpitude that Jesus could imagine. Moral bankruptcy. Jesus invents the ultimate sinner.
Then the story turns. Another kind of shame starts in verse 17: “But when he came to his senses,” – that’s hopeful, isn’t it? – “when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!’” He contemplates an accurate assessment of his condition. He came to his senses. He was an honest man at that moment, looking at where he had taken himself – on the brink of death with no one to help. And he thinks back about the father and he understands that the father doesn’t have enough, he has more than enough, and he gives more than enough even to hired men, day laborers, the lowest people on the socioeconomic ladder. He remembers the goodness of his father and the generosity of his father, and the compassion of his father, and he remembers his father’s kindness.
He’s embarrassed, but he wants to go back to his father. This is where repentance begins – when you come to your senses and you realize the sin you’re in. He is embarrassed. He has a hard, hard reunion, hopefully, waiting for him. But he says, “I will get up and go to my father and will say to him, “Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and in your sight.” This is so embarrassing. He’s coming back destitute. He has to admit that he’s wasted everything with prostitutes. He must have told them that because the older brother even knew. He has to come back and make it right.
Now according to Jewish family law, he would have to come back and work years of hard labor at a servant’s wage to earn back the family inheritance that he had wasted. He would go back for the sledgehammer and the rockpile for decades. This was the only way in legalistic Judaism to recover. He knows his sin transcends the father because he says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.” Literally, “I have sinned into heaven. Heaven is aware of this.” Or you could even interpret it, “My sins are as high as heaven.”
He asks no privileges, verse 19: “I’m no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” No privileges, no rights – he knew the system – no forgiveness. He forfeited everything. No excuses. He will say to his father, “Just make me a day laborer.” Again, the lowest on the socioeconomic ladder because they were only hired one day at a time. He’s like the parable in Matthew 18, the man who said to the king to whom he owed an unpayable debt, “I’ll pay it all back,” because that’s what you had to do in the legalistic system. What a picture.
So here is the sinner who has come to complete desperation, who looks at himself and says, “I don’t want to be here. I have a father who is generous and kind and has plenty of resources.” He repents and he wants reconciliation. But he also believes that, and he truly believed it because it was what they taught, that he has to go back, and to get restitution he has to earn back everything he lost, even if it takes his whole life.
And the Pharisees finally would be able to say, “At last, something that’s not shameful. It’s exactly what that guy needs to do. He needs to go back and earn it all back.” This is the first honorable moment in the whole story. The shameful son, and the shameful father who lets him have his inheritance, then the massive shame that the son accumulates. Finally he comes to his senses, finally he recognizes the goodness of the father. Finally he understands he has to earn his way back.
In verse 20 we read, “So he got up and came to his father.” The rabbis said reconciliation comes only because of restitution. What did he expect when he got to the father? Distance, abuse, punishment, get ready to go to work. Maybe if you work long enough and hard enough you can earn your way back. He would expect his father who had been so dishonored when he gave him the freedom to do this to keep a little honor alive in his life by not letting the son right back in, perhaps standing at a distance from him to create an optic of what he felt in his heart: “You’re no son of mine. The only way I can preserve my honor finally as a father is to make sure you restore everything you wasted.” He might say to the son, “Kiss my feet. Get ready to work.”
That’s what the Pharisees and the scribes would have expected. But notice verse 20: “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Yikes, we’re right back to where we were. This is a hopeless father. “Get your act together. Save a little honor.” This, again, is a shameful reconciliation – an already shamed father who gave freedom to a wicked son is shamed even more by his reception.
The details are important. “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him.” What does that tell you? Who was looking for whom? “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him.” A long way off from where? From the entrance to the village. He saw him because his father was seeking for him to come back. His father felt compassion on him. How weak is this father; ridiculous. You don’t feel compassion for somebody like that, you feel disdain. He went into a Gentile country and lived with pigs, he wasted everything. This is so shameful as to be beyond comprehension.
And then the father did something you don’t do. The father ran. He ran. Middle Eastern noble people don’t run, they wear robes. The word for “robe” is miq’pdut. That means that which gives me honor, that which gives me honor. You look today in the Middle East and you will see dignified men with a robe all the way to the ground. They don’t run, they either do the moonwalk or glide. They don’t run.
To pull up your robe and run is to bring more shame on yourself. To show any part of your anatomy is shameful. But he runs through town, he runs through the village with his robe pulled up, bringing more shame on himself. He doesn’t care because this is selfless love, isn’t it? This is self-emptying condescension. And he gets to the boy before the mockers to. He gets to the boy before the villagers do. He gets to the boy to absorb the shame. This is outrageous conduct. “And then he embraced him.” Pig-stinking boy, threw his arms around him. That’s a sign of full reconciliation. He hugs that rebel sinner.
Not only that, “kissed him.” In the original text, “He kissed him repeatedly.” It was customary to express love by covering the head with kisses. This father has no concern for his own honor in the eyes of the Jewish leaders.
What should he have done? They’re thinking, “Well, he should have beaten the boy publicly in front of the whole village because that’s what he deserved, and that way the father could keep some honor. And then he should have made an open announcement that he was to become a day laborer and earn his way back.”
But what did the father do? He loved him, he ran for him, threw his arms around him, kept on kissing him. What is this? I’ll give you the word: grace. And the Pharisees and scribes had no category for grace; they were legalists.
Under this overwhelming act of grace the son says in verse 21, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.” But he leaves out the last part of his rehearsed speech, verse 19. He ended his rehearsal with, “Make me one of your hired servants.” Here he doesn’t say that. Why? Because he’s already been fully received, doesn’t have to earn his way back.
Leave out the hired man part; that would be an insult to grace. And frankly, grace is the greatest assault, the greatest affront to legalistic religion. They are so outraged, and it takes you back, doesn’t it, to verse 2: “The Pharisees and scribes began to grumble because this man receives sinners.”
And that’s exactly what he did with that son. He receives reconciliation, restoration, and forgiveness, and it is so incredibly lavish. Look at verse 22: “The father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe, put it on him, put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; bring the fattened calf, kill it; let’s eat and celebrate.’” Oh, this is the third story about celebration, isn’t it?
What can we say about this father? Who is this father? God in Christ coming down from heaven to the dust of our towns to seek and save the lost sinner. And God initiates the search. He is the seeker who finds the sinner before the sinner can find Him. And God’s love for the penitent is lavish and it is pure grace apart from any work, and God finds His consummate joy in the salvation of one lost sinner so that all of heaven erupts in a celebration. Second Corinthians 5:19 says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” That’s grace.
We’re not used to seeing God like this are we? We don’t think of God as happy, we think of Him as somber and sober. He is perfect wrath, but He’s perfect joy as well. He’s so effusive in his love, and he has absolutely no regard for what the boy did as far as sin concerns itself. He didn’t ask for a record of his iniquity, it was enough. Father sought him, found him, loved him, lavished him.
This is just saving grace on display. It points to the reality that God in Christ will absorb all the sinner’s shame. He’ll pull up His robe and embarrass Himself to run through town to rescue a sinner. He’ll throw His arms around a sin-stinking sinner and kiss him all over his head. He’ll take the shame. Nothing for the sinner to do but confess his desperation, his unworthiness, and receive grace.
Verse 22: “Father then commands his slaves to get the best robe and the ring and the sandals and the fattened calf.” And this, by the way, as far as the Pharisees are concerned, is just another shameful act by this father, another outrage. But we learn that lavish love and grace holds back nothing. And to the Pharisees and the scribes and all legalists, this father is the archetypal idiot who continues to heap shame on himself by heaping forgiveness on this sinning son.
But notice, the father doesn’t hold back. “Quickly,” – verse 22 – “quickly” – tachu in Greek, speedily. That is a real eye-roller. No contemplation, no conversation: “Quickly, get a robe.” The robe was the symbol of the father’s dignity. “Get the ring,” that was the symbol of the father’s authority. “Get the shoes,” that was the item that declared the father’s responsibility had been passed to the son because slaves didn’t wear shoes. The father gives him his dignity, his authority, and hands off his responsibility to the son, and offers him full sonship. This strikes a blow against all religion that says you work your way to God. God is not reluctant in receiving the penitent sinner; He runs, and He embraces, and He keeps kissing the vile sinner. Full sonship.
“Bring the fattened calf,” – verse 23 – “kill it; let’s eat and celebrate.” – why? – “For this son of mine was dead, has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” And they began to celebrate. That’s what we read in verse 7: a party when the sheep was found. Verse 10: a party, a celebration when the coin was found. And now a really significant celebration when the son was found.
The party – imagine – is in the honor of the shameful father and the shameful son. In the eyes of the Jewish leaders this is beyond outrageous. Legalists have no category for grace. The whole thing is far beyond just irritating, it is blistering their sensibilities. No such shameful characters should exist, nor can they imagine that any such characters do exist. This is fiction. This is fantasy. But this is truth. This is God in Christ and the sinner being reconciled.
That brings us to the amazing conclusion of the story: “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.” For the first time since he was mentioned at least at the beginning of the story in verse 11, he appears; he’s in the story now. Now let me identify him for you. He is the Pharisees and the scribes in the story. He shows up with the outrage. He has no relationship with the father. He also hates the father. He has been no part of this planning, doesn’t even know what’s going on, which is demonstrating that he has no relationship with his father because he’s not even there, nor does the father invite him to be there at the greatest moment in the history of the family. The father sends him no message because he has no relationship with him. He is dutiful. He stayed home. He is the religious one, he is the one who thinks himself to be moral, but he is estranged in heart.
Verse 26, “He summons one of the servants, began inquiring what these things could be.” This indicates that he has no relationship to the father, he doesn’t even know what’s going on. “The servant said to him,” – in verse 27 – ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’” Safe and sound – shalom in Hebrew.
What do you think his response was? Verse 28: “He became angry.” Sure, he’s the Pharisees and the scribes, with no category for grace, who are angry at all the shame. And after all, he was not willing to go in. He couldn’t join the celebration because he had no category for grace.
His father comes out and begins pleading with him, as Jesus did so often with the scribes and the Pharisees: “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look!’ – that’s pretty shameful to address your father like that – ‘For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you’ve never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends.’ – whiney legalist – ‘You didn’t do this for me and I’ve been around.’” This is what the legalist would say: “Can’t celebrate grace.” He didn’t get a party. He didn’t have a relationship with the father. There was nothing for the father to rejoice over.
But verse 30, he says, “When this son of yours came who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.” This really is the final outrage. Notice how kind the father has been, verse 31: “He said to him, ‘Son, you’ve always been with me; all that is mine is yours.’” It’s an endearing thing. He doesn’t use huios, son; he uses teknon, child, child. “It’s all been here for you – all the riches, all the blessings.”
Salvation is offered to two types of sinners: the extreme reprobate and the extreme legalist, and everybody in-between. But the legalist is the hardest. And so I say to you, much easier to bring an open sinner to salvation than a religious legalist.
What makes God rejoice? What makes God rejoice? When ten thousand sinners have been saved? No, when one sinner. Heaven’s not holding its joy, the celebration goes on all the time because salvation and redemption is for the purpose of the joy of God. “It was always there for you. Grace was always there, but you couldn’t get past your self-righteousness.”
“We had to celebrate,” – verse 32 – “we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.” That seem to you like an incomplete ending? There’s no ending here. There’s a strophe of stanza system in Jewish storytelling and there’s a certain way that it’s structured. This ending actually should have eight parts, but it stops with the seventh. That’s not the ending.
What happened to the older son? What was his reaction? Let me write an ending, okay. Don’t add this to the Scripture. Here’s the ending. When the father said, “We had to celebrate, we had to rejoice over the lost sinner who was found,” upon hearing this, here’s my ending: “Upon hearing this, the older brother was outraged, picked up a piece of wood and beat his father to death in front of everyone.”
You say, “That’s a little extreme.” But it would only be a few months until they would kill Christ with wood, and they would congratulate themselves that they had killed this offeror of grace and preserved their self-righteous legalism. And they even said, “His blood be on us.” In the language of the parable, the son at the end is striking the father with crushing, killing blows, saying, “You are evil, you are evil; someone needs to end your shameful conduct. I’ll do it,” and he beats the father to death.
The final ironic twist is that the father who should have beaten the wicked son is rather killed by the legalistic son in the greatest act of evil ever committed, thinking he was righteous. And yet, God, that saving, gracious Father, uses that execution to provide salvation for all sinners. The story ends at the cross, and we find our salvation there, don’t we.
Father, we thank You for Your Word to us. Thank You for the greatness of Scripture, its compelling power, its truthfulness, its penetrating work in our lives. Thank You that we came together to worship You today. We are so filled with joy and thanksgiving, so grateful that You have found us. We know having heaven is having a party, and we’re here to have that party as well. Worship is a celebration. Worship is a celebration of salvation, and we will celebrate the salvation that You have given to us as unworthy sinners. And, Lord, it’s my prayer that the word of our Lord in this chapter would reach many hearts today, and that many sinners would be found, brought to repentance, and embraced, and kissed, and given a robe of righteousness, spiritual authority and spiritual responsibility as Your own sons.
Thank You for purchasing us at the cross. And we thank You, Father, for the glory of the resurrection, which guarantees our eternal resurrection as well. You have lavished us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ; we are rich beyond imagination, and we earned none of it. We inherit everything that heaven has as joint heirs with Christ our true brother. We rejoice in that. Fill our hearts with joy in the salvation that is ours; and may we join the heavenly celebration. What a privilege. Hear our prayer, we pray in our Savior’s name. Amen.
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