Is God really the judge?

Many times through my Christian life I have heard the illustration of God being the judge and we’re guilty standing before this judge and Jesus is the prosecuting attorney who takes our place and receives the punishment that we should have gotten instead.

This has some aspects to it that are true, but is this truly the character of God. As I read the New Testament,  I come away with a different idea of who this God is.

This Judge and attorney presents me with a Legal Gospel. Jesus is the exact representation of God our Father in Heaven. So when we see Jesus we’re seeing how God really is. This is what He said.

John 3:17-19(NASB)

17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

It sounds to me that Jesus is more like the Father searching the horizon for his son to come home. Jesus is the Good Shepherd that goes on a search and rescue mission to retrieve back just one lost sheep. We were created to live in the love of God, receiving it and sharing it with others. It’s a different picture then the courtroom. It’s more like the family home with the table set with a feast and loved ones sitting all around it, enjoying just being together.