“His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
As a father of sons, I confess to favoring this powerful parable. It brings the gospel home! Jesus told this story so that we could learn more about his Father—the God of love, patience, and forgiveness. He’s also the God who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). He’s the heavenly Father filled with compassion for his lost children.
It’s a loving father who’ll provide an inheritance that is normally given only upon death. It’s a patient father who watches for a wayward child to return home. It’s a forgiving father who restores a son’s dignity with a robe, ring, and sandals—signs of sonship, of belonging. It’s a joy-filled father who celebrates with feasting and dancing.
God’s love for us is demonstrated further as we see the father reaching out patiently to an angry older brother. He wants him to join the family party. After all, “this brother of yours was dead and is alive again.” There’s reason to celebrate—all the children are home!
Whether we’ve been lost or always at home, our heavenly Father delights in calling us his children. Our God is a faithful Father to his Son, Jesus, and to all the brothers and sisters invited to join the grand, eternal celebration of his love and forgiveness. Do you hear his call?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son, who has pre-pared the way home for us. Give us a spirit of thanks as we share your invitation with others. In Jesus, Amen.
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