“He got up and went to his father.” Luke 15:20 (NIV)
The prodigal son was absolutely miserable. But it takes courage to go back home. How do you find the courage to begin the long journey home? You find the courage when you believe that there will be a welcome. And this is the promise of the gospel.
The father in Jesus’ story is more generous than the son would ever have dared to imagine. The father, filled with compassion, throws his arms around his son and kisses him (that’s forgiveness). The father brings out the robe. He will not have his son clothed in rags (that’s covering his shame). This is what God does for us in Jesus Christ. He clothes us in his righteousness. The father calls for the ring (that’s the mark of sonship), and places it on his son’s finger, so he can face the world as a new man.
Jesus tells this story so that we will know how God the Father will receive those who come to him in repentance and faith. If you come to God today, through his Son Jesus Christ, he will welcome you as the father welcomed the prodigal in Jesus’ story. Believe this and you will find the courage to repent.
The stories of the two sons teach us a great irony: Those who seem far away from God may actually be near, and those who seem near to God may actually be far away. You may feel you are far from God, but God is ready to forgive and welcome you back. That’s the promise of the gospel. When you believe it, you will find the courage to repent.
What is your reaction to this story?