23 January 2012

So Completely Different

Helmut Thielicke, the German pastor of the mid-twentieth century, on the parable of the lost son in Luke 15:
We must read and hear this gospel story as it was really meant to be: good news! News so good that we should never have imagined it. News that would stagger us if we were able to hear it for the first time as a message that everything about God is so completely different from what we thought or feared. News that he has sent his Son to us and is inviting us to share in an unspeakable joy. . . .

[This news] comes into our life as an amazing surprise. That there should be someone like Jesus, that he should gain the Father’s heart for us, that he should rescue us from the frustration of our personal lives and snatch us away from this horrible vegetating on the edge of the void—all this is indeed a tremendous surprise.
--Helmut Thielicke, The Waiting Father: Sermons on the Parables of Jesus (Harper, 1959), 31-32, 36

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