“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” -John 15:20-24
In the parable of the prodigal son, we see the sinful ways of the younger son. He saw the opportunity to stand on his own and make his own decisions while leaving his father and family behind. His actions were selfish and greedy. His mind was on indulging himself with little regard for anyone around him. We can all identify with that character at some point in our lives. Living in this flesh and being drawn on all sides to satisfy its lusts.
The beauty of the story is the response of the father upon the sons return. I understand the importance of discipline and the results of sin, so does the Lord. The focus of the father’s actions was meant to drive the point of his unending love for the wayward son. This event exposes the true heart of the father to watch for his son to return each evening. Longing for him to come home and be restored to the family.
In the father’s actions we see the love our Father in heaven has for us. He sees worth in us that we are unable to see in ourselves. A man face down in slop does not project great possibilities, but God looks beyond the outside and to the heart. He saw a man with great potential and worth forgiving.
We also notice the sacrifice at his return home. The father spared no expense on welcoming his son to the family. He killed the calf, placed garments on him and gave him a ring symbolizing his position in the family as son. Oud father in heaven was willing to give His greatest possession for our sins, His only begotten Son. Jesus was willing also to give Himself for mankind that was not worthy of His love. This willingness shows the depth of the Father’s love for us.
Finally, we notice his desire to make something wonderful out of his son. His goal was not only to reinstate him to the family but to present him to the staff and community as a legal son and heir of the father. Our Father seals us with the Holy Spirit identifying us as children of God. We become joint heirs with Christ and a royal priesthood. His plan for us involves sharing others of the great love of the Father in giving His Son for all sin. May the story of the prodigal reignite our fire to live for the Father by honoring the Son.