Luke 15:20-24 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (21) And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (22) But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: (23) And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: (24) For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
This portion of the Prodigal Son is one of the most beautiful, inspiring and hope-fueling depictions of God in all of the Bible. Everyone knows of the image of God from John 3:16: That he loved the world so much that he gave his only son that we might have everlasting life. But the imagery that is portrayed in this parable takes John 3:16 another step.
Let’s compare God’s love, as shown here, to man’s typical reaction. First of all, we would have never let the son leave...with our inheritance. If he did leave, a natural reaction would be that “He is never welcome in this house again”. But the power of this parable is in the son’s return. I am afraid that if I were in the position of the father, my reaction would be to “let that boy have it”. How dare he tarnish the family name. How dare he waste all of the money...and on what? Now what are you going to do to survive? Did you learn your lesson? Are you only coming back to get more money? And the interrogation would last for hours. But clearly that is not what the father does. The father sees the son from a great way off. This indicates to me that the father was hoping for the sons return. He missed his boy and he wanted him to come home. I can imagine that the father regularly glanced that direction for his return. Once he saw him, the father didn’t stand with his arms folded and tapping his foot waiting for an apology. He ran to his son and “fell on his neck and kissed him”. The father wanted the first impression to be of reception and love, not rejection and judgement. As we studied in the previous lesson, the son said to his father exactly as he had rehearsed: I am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father didn’t see it that way. He did not treat him like a servant, he embraced him like a son once again.
God’s forgiving power is unimaginable. There is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven. There are no sin so numerous that it cannot be forgiven. In fact, that forgiveness does not just bring us to a level of neutrality, like the Prodigal Son, it brings us to the state of being God’s child.
1 John 3:1 ¶ Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
However, to be eligible for that forgiveness, we like the Prodigal son must repent. We simply cannot continue living that life of sin. The forgiveness only came when he was willing to leave the life of riotous living and begin to live the life that his father desired.
Reflecting His SON,
Minister, North Hardin Church of Christ
1804 Sam Stewart Dr.
Radcliff, KY 40160
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