“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”
Perhaps one of the most memorable and heart-touching stories of grace and forgiveness is recorded in Luke 15. It’s what we’ve come to know as the Story of the Prodigal Son. This young man demanded his inheritance while his father was still alive, spent it all on riotous living, and found himself dirty, destitute, and despairing. As despicable as pigs were to Jews, this young man took a job taking care of pigs and eating their food just to stay alive. But then he had an epiphany.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. 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 15:17-20). And where was his father? He was panning the horizon, hoping for a sign that his boy might return home. Looking. Waiting. Praying. Searching. Pacing. Expectant. That’s how much your heavenly father loves you.
While “he was still a long way off” (verse 20), the father spotted his son on the horizon. Filled with compassion, he picked up the edges of his robe and ran. He didn’t wait for his son to come to him, grovel at his feet, and beg for forgiveness. No, as soon as the father caught a glimpse of his son, he dashed toward his boy, smothered him with kisses, and welcomed him home.
If you remember, not everyone was happy when the prodigal son returned. His big brother resented the fact that he got another chance. And you know what? There will be those who resent the fact that we get another chance as well. It’s pride that can’t celebrate with a prodigal-come-home. Folks who won’t celebrate are still kidding themselves into thinking they did something right to be loved by their Father.” Thank God for never giving up on us.