Pastor John

The painting above is one of the artistic treasures from the famous painter Rembrandt. It’s called “The Return of the Prodigal.” Take a closer look at the painting. Pete Scazzero has done a masterful job of describing the main characters in the painting.

“As you can see in the painting, the younger son is kneeling, resting his head on the father’s bosom. The son is bald, seemingly exhausted and emaciated, without a cloak, wearing only one tattered shoe, and disheveled. He is a picture of a life that has been broken.”

“The younger son had demanded his share of the estate and ran away from home. He shames his father and disgraces his family. But things eventually go so badly for him that he is reduced to tending pigs.”

“…Finally, the son comes to his senses and decides to return home. As he approaches his father’s house in shame, the father sees him from a long way off and sprints toward him. He runs to his son and embraces him before the son can even start with his prepared speech.”

“Then the unimaginable occurs. The father kisses him repeatedly. ‘Repeatedly’ is conveyed in the original Greek. The father’s love is extravagant and excessive. He reinstates his son’s position of authority by replacing his tattered clothes with the best robe, giving him a signet ring representing his legal authority, and outfitting him with the shoes of a free man who belongs in the house. The father then throws a huge party filled with music and dancing.”

But when the older brother heard the music and the raucous celebration taking place at his younger brother’s return, he was not pleased, to say the leastTake a closer look at how Rembrandt portrayed his countenance and posture: aloof, detached, looking down with condescension and condemnation.

Scazzero writes about the older brother: “Although the older son has done nothing wrong, his heart is far from right. He is, in fact, more lost than his younger brother because he cannot see how lost he truly is. His devotion to respectability, self-righteousness, and duty have blinded him to his own condition. He is living in the father’s house, but he, too, has left home and remains far from the father’s love. The elder brother serves as a warning to me that it is possible to obey God’s commands, serve in God’s house, and still be lost. I can appear to be near God and yet actually be very far from him.”

That’s why we are calling our new message series starting this Sunday, The Prodigals. All three characters, in their own way, have something important and unique to teach us about how God treats both the prodigal’s who stray and the prodigals who stay. Please plan to join us onsite at Apopka or Lake County or online this Sunday at 9:30 or 11:15 AM as we kickoff this series that will lead us into our Easter celebrations.

And please note the Easter worship schedule listed below for each campus.

Loving the returning prodigal Journey,

Pastor John