Key Passage : Luke 15: 11-32
Key Text: Luke 15:20 – “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
The word ‘Father’ to many sends great fear and trepidation into their hearts. They have only known a father who is a strict disciplinarian, grumpy, and mostly harsh. In some cases the father has even been abusive and condemning. That’s not to say there are no good fathers. Some people have had excellent fathers and if you fall into that category, then consider yourself, very blessed.
Jesus told a parable popularly known as the ‘parable of the prodigal son’. But this title is a wrong title, because Jesus did not narrate this story to tell people about the sins of the son, but more of the love of the father for the son.
If you have never read the story, I encourage you to please read it. It is one of the most heart wrenching, love stories Jesus ever told. To summarise, a certain father had two sons and the younger one decided to go away with his inheritance early. He went to a far country and spent all his money on wild living. He became broke, and a recession hit the place he ran to. He decided he would go and get a job, but the only job left in town was to look after pigs. He was so hungry that he would have eaten the food of pigs. (Now for a Jewish boy, that had to be the very limit). But at that time he came to his senses and decided to run back home, saying that his father’s servants has more than enough to eat.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and ran and embraced him. The son tried to say he was sorry, but the father was just too happy to see his son back. He immediately asked for the best robes in the house and clothed his wretched son. Gave him new shoes and put the signet ring on his finger. Then he asked his servants to go and kill the fatted bull and throw a really lavish party for all the neighbours.
This is exactly how our heavenly Father is. He does not try and force us to be good children, He allows us to make up our minds we want what he prescribes. Secondly, His heart yearns and longs for us, and when we are far from Him there is nothing he desires more than that we return to Him. Thirdly when we come back to Him, He is not waiting with a big stick to beat us and reprimand us for being naughty. He comes and embraces us. Like the father in our story, He clothes us with His robes of righteousness and dignity. He puts shoes on our feet, so we can have our dominion back and then gives us the signet ring, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. That is the sign that we are His children.
Lastly, He throws a party. I think this statement says a lot “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” I believe this joy is the Father’s joy. He is the one rejoicing before the angels and all of heaven joins Him in this joy. This is our Father in heaven. This is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the God of Grace. No condemnation. No rebukes. Just grace. Just an embrace. Just love. Do you know Him?
Let’s Pray: My dear Father in heaven. Please help me to always remember that I am safe with you and your arms are always open to welcome me back even when I stray far from you. Help me to always bear in mind that you are full of grace, kind and forgiving. Help me to know that you love me and that your love for me is everlasting. Help me to learn to always live in the reality of your heart, not what others have tried to make you to me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen