Well, we know how the father left things when his son abandoned him. But how about when the son returned? It’s this second father/son interaction we are focusing on today.
With the father acting as gracious upon his son’s return as he did when the son left, we can notice that the son’s poor choices and disobedience were bookended with the father’s mercy and grace.
The father doesn’t ignore his son. He doesn’t wait for him to come to him, with flat affect and no emotion. He RUNS to his son!
We know from Jesus and Luke’s storytelling that this father was very wealthy with landholdings and servants. Do you think a man of that stature would have run to anyone? Not a chance! Such frolicking would have been reserved for children or young men engaging in sport.
Middle Eastern patriarchs did not run.
Not only did the father disregard what would have been acceptable behavior, he also totally preempted his son’s apology by extending forgiveness right on the spot! Remember how the son had a whole plan of how he would redeem himself by becoming a servant? Not even his best laid plan could compare to what his father had in mind!
Nothing is good enough for the son! The father isn’t holding past transgressions against him. Not in how he left and not in how he squandered money. It’s ALL water under the bridge.
Some scholars maintain that the robe the father calls for was either the father’s own robe or a robe only reserved for distinguished quests. Nonetheless, we see him pulling out all the stops. If, indeed, it was the former, that would be completely representative of the son’s reinstatement into the family.
In either case, the father is sending a clear message: he is not waiting for debts to be paid (which would have been customary as we learned in week 1) or for the son to grovel. No one needs to earn their way back into that family. Their place is secured just in the very fact that they came back. The father’s love never went away so nothing had to be done to earn it back.
I’ll provide proof in the text later in the week, but for now consider this analogy:
So it is with the father’s love. It is there. It’s not going anywhere, yet sometimes when we travel to distant countries, far from our Fathers house, it can seem as though that is not so. The enemy will even try to trick us into thinking its gone forever or until we pay some price. That’s simply not true.
Grounded in love, the father restored the son and then some. This is especially ironic since the son added insult to injury when he left. The father though? He responds with grace on top of grace.
The fattened calf is another prime example of the father’s extravagant love. That would have been the choiciest meat and reserved for only the finest of occasions. This feast would have been one that had the whole town talking. It would be Page Six material for sure.
Let’s consider all of what we went over the last two days so far in light of who Jesus was talking to: the sinners he was eating with and the Pharisees. He would have been challenging their current mindset with this story: God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. Intentional acts of ill will? Harm? Murder? Self-sabotaging? Addictions? It doesn’t matter to God. All are welcome home.
In the father’s home there is always abundant room with food and grace to spare.
No sin is a match for His grace. Incase that is something you need to hear today: no sin is a match for His grace. Go to Him! Let Him welcome you home!
If you have time, sit with that for a bit today. Tomorrow we will look at the 3rd way the father surprised the listeners. There’s a valuable lesson in it for us.
Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!
Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!
Previous posts from the Prodigal Series
Miss one? I got you covered! All teachings from this series are found here.