“There was a man who had two sons.”
When someone wants to simplify their life, they get rid of things that get in their way—even people, in some cases.
The young man in today’s story was not interested in his father, but he was interested in the things he could get from his father. He thought his life would be more exciting if his father was dead. In the culture of that day, it was an insult to ask for your inheritance before your father passed away. But the young man didn’t care about that.
The story then takes a surprising turn as the father gives the young man his inheritance. Most fathers would not react in a way like that. They’d probably consider the most reasonable options for such an unreasonable child. But Jesus is making a point that parallels our Father in heaven’s lavish love for us. The father knows his son is lost, and he watches and prays for his return. As a result, the focus of the story isn’t really on the son but on the outrageously generous father who waits for his son to come home.
Jesus told this story to tell us about his Father. His Father gave up everything, even his own Son, so that we might be returned to him. Our Father is overjoyed to the point of being utterly undignified because we belong to him again. He loves us that much. As we come to our senses, we too find our Father running toward us, undignified but overjoyed.
Father, thank you for patiently waiting for us to come home to you. As you run toward us, we run toward your arms ready to embrace us. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!