Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Jesus, Know Him and Live - Part 2

Michael Youssef - Jesus, Know Him and Live - Part 2

Michael Youssef - Jesus, Know Him and Live - Part 2
Michael Youssef - Jesus, Know Him and Live - Part 2

The story of the prodigal is the summary of the entire Christian faith. It is the Christian faith in a story. It is Christianity in a capsule. The story is the story of every one of us. Every one of us who sought to live for self and we did only to discover the painful consequences of that living for self is nothing but a mirage. No fulfillment. It's the story of every one of us who pursued the mirage of the world's attraction only to discover it's a dust. It's the story of every one of us who have searched for fulfillment in life and come to realize that fulfillment is only found in the one who made us and created us and redeemed us. But, believe it or not, the story of the prodigal is not primarily about the prodigal.

Now a lot of people misunderstand that. It's primarily not about either the younger son or the older son. The story of the prodigal is primarily about God. Before Jesus came from heaven, God, Yahweh, Elohim, appeared in the person of Jesus before incarnation to Abraham, to Jacob, and to different people, to Daniel, and to different people for a period of time, just a short time, for a specific purpose. And all we know is through their eyes. But God wanted us to know him fully. God wanted to reveal himself fully. God wants us to know what he's like. And so God the Son came from heaven to reveal to us what God the Father is all about.

When God the Son revealed God the Father, he revealed him throughout his own virgin birth, life, death on a cross, resurrection. But he also revealed him by telling us some stories to illustrate what God the Father is like. And so he tells the story of the prodigal. Jesus, in the story, attempts to reveal the Father, to reveal the heart of the Father. In fact, that's really what the story is all about. Now, there are some people who have a confused picture about who God is. Made up their mind that they know what God is all about. They have already decided in their head. There are some people who see or think that God is that vengeful, angry God who's ready to whack you every chance. There are some people who view God as some sort of senile old man who is helplessly trying to do the best he can.

And the list goes on and on and on. But all of these views of God are contrary to God's own self revelation. You see, these are all false views of God. Any and all views of God that are contrary to what Jesus told us are basically erroneous. All views of God that are contrary to the Word of God is false, is manmade. Who would know God the Father better than God the Son who co-existed with him before eternity in the Godhead? For he and he alone could truly tell us what God the Father is like. Any public figure, any person, people can have ideas and presupposition of what they're like, who they are, and so forth. But only their dearest and their nearest can tell us the truth.

And that is why in Luke 15, in verse 11, literally, hear the words of Jesus: "There was a father". And there's one thing that you need to know when you're reading the Bible, in the Semitic language which I grew up in, the point of the story or the point of the parable is the opening sentence. That tells you what's really the purpose of the whole story. And the opening sentence, Jesus said, "There was a father". That is really the focal point. Do you want to know the one true God, the creator of the universe, the sustainer of the universe, and who soon will be the judge of the universe? Listen to what his eternal Son said.

Are you searching for the truth about the one true God? Listen to what his only begotten Son said about him. Are you tired of these false gods that cannot satisfy your deepest longing? Come to know the only one, the only one true God who can satisfy your soul. Are you seeking rest for your weary soul? Come to the only one who loved you and redeemed you and paid the price and the wages for your sins. Come to the only one who can truly help you. His Son who revealed him. Verse 11: "There was a father". Underline it, if you have your own Bible. Underline it. This is the focus of the story. This is the heartbeat of the story. This is the longing of Jesus in order to communicate to us.

Jesus wants us to see how the heart of the Father breaks in two when his children live their lives as if he doesn't exist. How the heavenly Father feels when one of his children get all of his blessings in life and then live for self. How the heavenly Fathers feel when one of his children live their life of being indifferent toward the heavenly Father. You see, when the younger boy says to his father, "Give me my inheritance," he basically was saying, "Father, I wish you were dead. I just wish you were dead". But the father never ceased to love him. He never ceased to love him. When the older boy stayed at home, went to church, and went through the religious motions without intimacy with the father, the father still loved him.

In fact, whether a person is in the far country living for self or lost inside the church walls, the Father loves you. The Father loves you. And God's word for you is this, not only that I love you but I long for you to know me personally. I long for you to put your whole trust in me. Did you know that those two boys, the two sons, they basically represent all of humanity? They really do. They represent all of humanity. There are only two types of people in the world. One is lost away, running away from God. There are others who are lost inside the church. Either way, the Father's heart is broken in two. We all at some point have rebelled against the holy God.

Whether we rebelled in our hearts or rebelled publicly, only you know that and only I know that. Our rebellion may differ but the result's the same: alienation from God. Our struggle against God may take different forms but it's a struggle with God nonetheless. Every one of us, when we came to the heart of Abba, the one and only true God, we were drawn by his unbelievable loving heart. Someone may say, "Well, Michael, I just don't think God loves me. I don't believe that God really cares for me. God is angry with me. God will never forgive me". Let me tell you on the authority of God's own Word, not me, what Jesus said about the Father is absolutely true. And it's a testimony of millions of people around the world.

Let me tell it to you from a Middle Eastern perspective. You have to understand, you have to transport yourself right there and sit with the people that Jesus was speaking to, and put yourself in that place and put yourself in that culture. Here's what you need to understand. When the prodigal came to his father and if a son would come to his father today in the Middle East or even back then, and he says, "You know, could you give me my part of the estate now before you die, 'cause I need it now". I can tell you about the only thing that son would get from the father is the back of his hand. Trust me, trust me, trust me. That's all he's gonna get. The people who were sitting there listening to Jesus speaking, they were incredulous. They were thinking, "It's a joke. This is not a parable, that's a joke. What planet does this prodigal come from? What planet does that son came from to make such a horrible request"?

See, the Old Testament law was very clear and they all knew it. That when the father dies, two-thirds of his estate goes to the oldest boy because the oldest boy was responsible for the rest of the family. So two-thirds of the estate go to the oldest boy, then the other third goes to the rest of the family. But that's after the father dies. Not before. And Jesus was telling them this unbelievable story, and I hope you understand the depths of how unbelievable this is, to impress upon them how incredible God's love is. How awesome God's love is. How indescribable God's love is. How persevering that love of God is. How inexhaustible the grace of God is. And while the father's in agony over his son's rebellion, he lets him go with all the money. Why? Because Jesus is telling us that love only has what love lets go of.

Did you get that? Love only has what love lets go of. Someone here or maybe watching around the world right now, you're enjoying all of God's blessings. Might be blessing of health. Some enjoying God's blessing materially. You might be enjoying God's blessing intellectually. You might be enjoying God's blessing relationally. And yet, you are giving God hardly a thought. Know this. God's love is persevering and is letting go. God's love is waiting for you to return. God's love is longing for you to return. God's love is watching over you, even though you be in the far country, whether you are inside a church walls, he's watching over you.

But there's something else very important I don't want you to miss here. The father in this prodigal story, he could have stopped his son from leaving home. He has every right to do it. He could have refused to give him his blessing. He could have punished him publicly and would have every right to do that. Could have done all sorts of things, but he didn't. He didn't. That's the thing that tears me up. He waited until the boy came to his senses. Until he came to his senses. And he's waiting for you and he's waiting for you and he's waiting for you to come to your senses and understand the incredible love of the Father. In verse 16 of Luke 15 it says the boy, the younger boy, hit rock bottom.

Now, for a Jewish boy to spend his days with pigs, that's really a few steps below the bottom. Ah, but his pride kept him back. His pride kept him back. Pride always keeps people from coming to the loving heavenly Father. They convince themselves that they can be good without Jesus. That's pride. But his son came to his senses, and he began to prepare a speech: "When I get to my father I'm gonna say this and this and this". No, no, no, no, no. Do you know what I'm talking about?

When you're preparing something important and you go through in your head and you go over it and, "Now maybe I should say this or maybe... no, no, no, I think I should say this because I really wanna get on my father's good side. Maybe I'll say, 'Sorry I wasted the money,' or maybe I say, 'Sorry I wasted my life,' or maybe I say, 'Sorry, my plans didn't work out.' Or 'Sorry that my friends let me down,' or 'Sorry that I thought that I brought shame to the family. Now I'm willing to be a servant, not a son. I don't deserve to be a son. I'm happy to have a servant-master relationship, not a father-son relationship.'"

Here's what happened. See, when the son left home, he said, "Give me". But when he came to his senses, he said, "Make me". When the son left home, he left as a son, but when he came back he was very glad to be a servant or slave. When he left home, he called it independence. But then when he came to his senses, he called it for what it is: sin. But you know, I really like to rush and get to my favorite part of the story. It's the Father's reaction to us when we come back home to him in repentance. That's the Father's reaction. That's the heavenly Father's reaction.

The father saw the boy from a distance and he did something is unthinkable in those days. It's unthinkable in that culture. He did the most humiliating thing for any Middle Eastern man to do. There is no self-respecting Middle Eastern man over 30 that would run. It's only reserved for slaves and prisoners, but not a dignified father. But listen to me, beloved friends, what the Almighty, all-powerful Creator God did the unthinkable. He came and he died on a cross in order to redeem everyone that would come to him in repentance and in faith. And that's what Jesus was pressing upon their minds and upon our minds. He did the unthinkable.

One of the saddest things people all over the world would say, "No, no, no. Allah is so powerful. He may be merciful, but he's ready to whack you. He cannot die on a cross". It defies logic. Just as the story defies logic to its hearers at the time, how can this dignified man run? How can God, sinless, pure, holy, die for sinners? It defies logic. But here's the great news. Here's the thing that literally tears me up from the inside out every time I read it. The father did not say to the boy what everybody expected. Everybody within that culture would have expected him to say some things but he did not. They would have expected him to rebuke the foolishness of the boy. He did not. They would have expected him to scold him for wasting his money, but he did not. No condemnation.

"No, you disgraced your family. Wait outside until everybody knows how broken you are. No, go and do some penance or recite 20 Hail Marys or", no, "Or you have to earn my forgiveness. I'm not gonna give it to you. You have to earn it". That is not our heavenly Father. And if that does not tear you up, I don't know what will. It's been doing this for 50 years in my life. You see, that's what Jesus's hearers were expecting to hear. But they were disappointed. Because that's what they did. This is how they treated sinners. They got them to crawl, they got 'em to earn but instead, the father runs to his son. The father kisses his son. The father welcomes his son.

That's what our Father does. He washed and cleansed his son. And the father forgave his son unconditionally. The father placed his own robe on his son, 'cause the son does not have a right standing with the father, does not have his own robe, and none of us ever have a robe of righteousness. That's why the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed on us. And so the Father sees us, forgiven, cleansed, healed, and restored, because he see us through the prism of Jesus. The father forgave his repentant son. Why? Because that is the heart of the Father.

Now, when the boy comes back and he begins, so he rehearsed that speech in his head so many times, obviously, and memorized it. And so he comes and he sees his father running and then he begins to recite the speech that he memorized. And he says, "Father, I have sinned against you and heaven". And the father would not wait for the rest of the speech. "I've heard enough. That's all I needed to hear. That's all I'm waiting for". "But, father, what about that part that I've rehearsed so many times, that I'm not worthy to be called your son and make me a servant, one of your slaves". The father says, "I don't have slaves". Our heavenly Father does not have slaves. He has father-son and father-daughter relationship. Did you know that? What about you? What about you? Are you ready to come to the Father?
Are you Human?:*