“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.” (Luke 15:20 NIV)
Family problems are nothing new, as seen in Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), a story about a father and his two sons. The younger son went to his father and asked for his share of the estate, and his request was granted. The rebellious son moved to a distant country and squandered his wealth in wild living. A severe famine swept over the land, and a local farmer hired him and sent him to the fields to feed pigs. The needy son became so hungry that he longed to eat the pods that the pigs were eating. He finally came to his senses and decided to return to his father, beg for his forgiveness, and offer to work as a hired servant. While he was on his way home and still at a distance, his father saw him coming. Moved with compassion, he ran to his son and hugged and kissed him.
“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. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:21-24 )
Meanwhile, the older son returned home from working in the fields and heard music and dancing in the house. One of the servants told him that his brother had come back home, and his father had killed the fattened calf to celebrate his safe return. The older son was angry and would not go into the house. His gracious father came to him and begged him to go in.
“But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ” (Luke 15:29-32)
The Prodigal Son is a moving story of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. If you have ever doubted God’s love, or if you have sinned or strayed and think He is mad at you, take a look at this story and see the very heart of God. The father running to his son to welcome him back home is a picture of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.
Father, I am amazed at Your readiness to forgive us and to welcome us back. I am thankful for Your amazing grace that is seen in this parable. In Jesus’ name. Amen.