By Ernest O'Neill

What God Has Done For Us in Jesus

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

It's like this. A very wealthy husband and wife decided to build a beautiful mansion in the center of their city to live in. And so they chose a hilltop and put up a most beautiful house. The lawns were perfectly manicured and the grounds were beautifully landscaped. When you went into the house, the walls were hung with beautiful paintings and the floors had Persian carpets and patterned rugs on them. And everything was absolutely perfect. There was antique furniture in every room, gathered from all over the European cities. The air in the home was beautifully scented, air conditioned and filtered so that everything was perfect. And they themselves were dear people. They lived ordered lives in real harmony with each other. And so the whole home was beautiful and absolutely spotless.

They had one son. That son was given every advantage they could offer him and then he was sent to college. There in college he got into drugs and alcohol. Despite all their attempts to communicate their love to him, he just went downhill, and eventually ended up on skid row. One day when he was high on drugs, he decided to stagger up the hill to his family home despite his wandering mad mind. He staggered up the hill and blasted his way through the front door. As he went through, he pulled furniture down to the floor. He staggered backwards and forwards and went into the living room where he pulled down some of the pictures from the walls and then collapsed on the floor in the middle of his own sickness and his own vomit. When the father and mother came in, they ran over to him. Despite the wretched stench that filled the room, despite the dirt and the filth that he had already spread in the living room in those few brief moments, they went over to him and put their arms around him. They told him that they were so glad he was back and that as far as they were concerned he was their son, he belonged to them, this was his home and this was where he should be.

Of course, He looked up at them and through the madness of his drugged state he could hardly believe what he was hearing. He was terribly embarrassed and ashamed. He mumbled, "No, you can't take me back, I don't fit into this. This is incongruous.  I am the opposite of everything that you have in this home. You can't take me back." And the father said to him, "I look into your eyes and I see my image in you. I can see myself in you. You are still my son. As far as I am concerned, you are completely restored to our favor. This is your home and we receive you here. The son of course had to accept. That's it. It may not make sense but that's it.   That's what this verse says to all of us. If the father says it, we can't question it, even though we can't see the sense in it.  It's fact.

But, then the son realizes, "I can't stay the way I am. If I continue the way I am, I'll just spread my filth and my dirt all over this home and destroy it for you."  At that moment the father stooped down and lifted the boy up and took him up the stairs to the bathroom and with his own hands he washed away all the dirt. The boy had tried to wipe away some of the dirt with his handkerchief, but the handkerchief was dirty. Everything the boy had was dirty. It didn't matter what he wiped. He only made it worse. He couldn't clean himself because he himself was full of filth and dirt. But the father lifted him up and took him up to the bathroom and put him in the bath and started to lovingly wash all the dirt away. Then he got out a good suit of clothes of his own, gave it, put it on the boy and brought him down.  He said to him, "However long it takes, however many times you fall, I will be here to do everything, to lift you up, to clean you and to make you the kind of person that will be at home in this beautiful heaven we have here." Now that's what God has done in Jesus for you. He has restored you not only to His favor but He has restored you to His image.