“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”—Luke 15:10
I remember reading my Bible one morning and asking God why the angels rejoiced in Heaven when one sinner repented. What was the reason for this—why the Heavenly fuss–I wondered, when God had other children to rejoice about? Wasn’t my soul just as precious as that of the man on the street or that of a woman in a brothel or the skeptic up in the mountains? It was an honest-to-goodness question, and I was aware that I probably sounded like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Still, I wanted to know if God had an answer for me.
I went about my day, my mind momentarily releasing the question to make room for all the work I had to do. By the time I hit mid-afternoon, I was ready to relax. I kicked off my shoes, fluffed the pillows on the living room couch, and turned on the VCD player to watch the Disney cartoon, The Lion King. The cartoon started with the song, “The Circle of Life” with its catchy African chant: “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba…” I watched with delight as the great lion Mufasa appeared with his lioness wife. The baboon Rafiki then followed, and in one glorious, sweeping moment, held up Simba, the lion cub, high up for all the animals of Pride Rock to see. The animals rejoiced– most of them bowing their knee in honor of the cub prince. Suddenly, I felt a tug in my heart and a strong whisper: “That is what happens!”
Immediately, the question I had earlier asked God flooded my mind. Needless to say, I had to pause the film and laugh and cry at the same time. I then understood an important principle: just as the lion cub was recognized and honored for his royal identity, a sinner who repents is given recognition and honor as royalty—the child of the MOST HIGH KING. It is his/her new identity in Christ, recognized by the angels and celebrated.
We must understand that God is a KING. Psalm 47 says this of Him:
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.
He will subdue the peoples under us,
And the nations under our feet.
He will choose our inheritance for us,
The excellence of Jacob whom He loves.
God has gone up with a shout,
The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
God had a wonderful way of answering my question. He was probably smiling at that very moment, knowing that His royal princess was catching His heart.
Having salvation is a beautiful thing. When people find their identity as sons and daughters of the Most High, we who are fellow “siblings” in God’s family can rejoice with Heaven.
Questions to challenge you:
Have you already put on your royal robe of identity? Have you chosen to turn away from sin and give your whole life to Jesus? He died on the cross and is offering you the gift of a real relationship with Him—one where you get to know His voice and His heart. If you aren’t sure of your royalty yet, why not pray right now? You can say this prayer:
I want to know more about this royal identity I have in you. Forgive me of my sins. I decide today to turn away from sin and to give my whole life to you. Make me part of Your family. Be my Lord. Be my Savior. I pray this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.
Original version first published at istudyebs.org
Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.