As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, I’ve been blogging about the parable of the Prodigal Son. We saw how he left home to get away from the rules. Now he realizes the mistake he’s made, and he wants to return home.
He even has a speech prepared.
“‘I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.”
Luke 15:18-20a NIV
This is the attitude of humility. We need to approach God wanting to do whatever it takes to live a life pleasing to Him. This prodigal didn’t really understand the heart of his father.
It’s much like us. We don’t fully understand the heart of God. We can’t even come close to grasping the love He has for each one of us.
Have you ever felt like God was mad at you because of some sin? Maybe you’ve been keeping away from the Lord or His people because you’re ashamed of something you’ve done. That’s not the way to go.
In this parable, the son distanced himself from his father. But then, when he hit rock bottom, he decided it was better to go home, no matter what the consequences were.
So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Most people agree that Jesus was telling this parable about His Heavenly Father. To review, the young man in question, took an early inheritance and blew it all on wild living. He ended up in poverty and became a servant who was feeding hogs.
Finally, he came to his senses and thought about what life was like in his father’s house. Even the servants were eating better than he was at that moment.
The young man decided to humble himself and return home. He had spent his inheritance and was now willing to simply be a one of his father’s hired servants.
He then made the long journey home. What would he find there? What would be the response of the father he had so humiliated by his leaving?
How would we write the story? A father standing, arms folded, with a stern “I told you so” written across his face. Would he listen in silence to the young man’s plea, only to say, “We’ll see how you act over the next few months.” Maybe there would be outright rejection.
We always seem to project these natural, human, responses onto our loving Father God. I’m so glad that He doesn’t treat us the way we treat each other. I’m even more thankful that He doesn’t treat me the way I deserve to be treated.
This young man started into his prepared speech.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
Luke 15:21-23 NIV
Because of the work Christ has done, all I need to do is start heading in His direction. It’s at that point that He runs to be with me. There’s no condemnation, no probation, and no judging. He only brings acceptance and forgiveness with Him.
Maybe you’ve done some things that you think are hard to forgive. Maybe you’ve been a long time away from God. It doesn’t matter. Return to the Lord and He’ll run to you. You can be restored in an instant because of the love of the Father.
Trust Him. He’s the God who runs.
Question: How have you experienced the love and acceptance of God the Father?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi