Luke 15:20b-24:  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

 

“Father, I Have Sinned”

These words from Luke come from the familiar account of the Prodigal Son. The son went to the father and demanded his inheritance. In essence he told his father that he wished him dead.  Then, he went and wasted everything he had. He tried to buy friends. When the money ran out, so did the friendships.

Forced into the workforce, worst of all he fed pigs. Pigs were detestable to the Jews. But, it was a living. He could maybe eat. But then he came to his senses. He decides to go home.

Treat me as a servant because I don’t deserve to be treated as a son, he thought. But blood runs thick. His father hurt, he longed for this son. Lost, his father continued to search for him. Then, the great miracle takes place. He sees his son coming, a distance away.

Unthinkable! The father ran to meet the son! To do so, the father would need to gird his long garments. He would have to tuck them up so he did not trip. And, it should be the son approaching the father; but here the father runs to his son.

What loving parent would not do the same? Imagine being separated from your child for a period of time. It happens. During this pandemic it has happened too often. When someone is hospitalized there is no visitation. 

What is even more amazing is the father’s reaction when he meets his son. He embraces him. Can you imagine the strength and length of that hug? Moved by his return, with compassion, the father kisses the son!

When the son repents, the father hears more than the words. The word “repent” is interesting. It means to “turn away and go in the other direction”. The son had a change of heart that turned him back to his father’s house. He admitted his sin and turned away from it.

The scene takes us from the son wishing his father dead to the father declaring this son who was dead is restored to life. Found, returned, restored. Let the celebration begin!

There is one more person in this account, the older son. He is not happy and wants nothing to do with this whole situation! When looking at what his brother did, he is not ready to forgive.

And, in the midst of all this, do you hear a big case of the “Poor me’s”? 

Before we become too critical of anyone in this account, we need to look into our own heart. With which person can we most identify? 

Have we ever wanted someone dead? The younger son.

Have we ever rushed with heart-felt yearning to restore someone? The father.

Have we refused to forgive because we have been hurt? The older son.

And here is the hard truth. We are both sons. But, thank God, we have a Father Who forgives. Thank Him for His Son Who gave His life—He Who was dead and is alive again—so we might have forgiveness and life. Restored into His family forever, we give Him thanks.

 

PRAYER:  Dearest Father in heaven, merciful and gracious to Your children, we come to You on bended knee, asking Your forgiveness. We have turned from You too often. Turn our eyes to You. We know that because of Your love we have been restored. There is with great joy in heaven when we turn from our sin with repentant hearts. We thank you for Your Son’s death and resurrection by which that we are given the certainty of life with You forever in the glories of heaven. To You be all praise and thanks, now and forever. Amen.