This Lent, Common Grace and Bible Society Australia invite us to rediscover Jesus’s profound teachings veiled in everyday stories. As we come together, we’re praying for ears to hear these teachings of Jesus afresh, to let them get past our defences and under our skin, as they transform us to make things right in this world.
Justice is not about punishment: it’s about healing.
In today’s video teaching, Professor Neil Ormerod reflects on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In this story, Jesus tells us about two sons: the younger one leaves home and squanders his inheritance. When he returns and is met with grace, love and welcome from his father, the older brother is jealous and hurt.
Who has never felt the sting of missing out on a gift you see someone else receive?
It is easy to sympathise and identify with the older brother. As we examine the idea of justice in this parable, we discover a deeper truth about mercy, responsibility and healing. Our natural inclination may well be toward a version of justice which is black and white. If you do the crime, you do the time. The justice Jesus invites us to take part in, however, is steeped in mercy and forgiveness.
It would be easy (and perhaps logical) to expect that once the younger son repents, he then receives grace and mercy. This parable demonstrates that mercy and grace are often first, with repentance and taking of responsibility the fruit. Undeserved grace does not mean ignoring issues. It does mean, however, a recognition that all fall short and all receive undeserved mercy. In this context, taking responsibility for our actions and repenting are about healing and growth, instead of an action which is rooted in a punitive system of earning acceptance. God welcomes us into his richer economy of mercy, forgiveness and grace.
The justice Jesus teaches us about challenges us to truly live a merciful life: towards others as well as ourselves. Justice is not about punishment: it’s about healing. When we can stand freely in our own shortcomings and receive healing, we are free to truly extend this to others thus reflecting the face of Jesus.
This series has been produced by Common Grace and Bible Society Australia.Click here to read full article.