Key verse: And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. Luke 15:20 [NIV]
The Luke 15 story of the prodigal son is a classical one. Most of the people approach it from the vantage point of “the lost son”. But I believe that this story tell us more about the father, especially his attitude to his wayward son. Having asked for his share of the inheritance the son went to “a distant country”, and as they say, the rest is history. Please read more of the story here.
What is more striking about this story is the father’s response to his son’s coming back. And [the son] got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. Luke 15:20 [NIV]. In the Ancient Near Eastern culture, any man of dignity would never run or even walk very fast. hey would walk in a slow and dignified manner. Patriarchs also wore very long robes, which is one reason they could not run. This means that this man had to fold his robes—making himself even more undignified—and run.
I can imagine the people in his village looking at him and holding their breath wondering what had happened!!! But you see, this man never thought about his glory, he never thought about what other people would say. He wanted one thing: his son restored back home. He had always been waiting. His heart and his eyes were always looking towards the direction that his son took. He was always hoping and longing for this moment when the son would eventually return home.
Friends, this is the cross! This is God, in Jesus Christ, loving us this much. Spreading his arms on that shameful and painful wooden cross and saying this is how much I love you! This is GRACE. The hallmark of divine grace is that an infinite and holy God is seeking for a relationship with sinful humankind. Grace is when God in his love pursues us. The Bible says in Romans 5:6-8 that 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [NIV].
God is in the business of seeking; of pursuing his wayward children. He is the waiting Father. He may be disappointed with us but he never gives up on us. He simply accepts us. Do you notice that the father simply hugged and kissed the son? He never told him to first clean up and make up for his past mistakes and then come. He didn’t ask him, “tell me; where is all my money?” No, all he was waiting for was his son. That’s how God looks at us. He is waiting for us. He is longing for a restored fellowship with you. Will you accept his love, his embrace, his forgiveness, his grace?
Thank you Father because you never give up on us. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for your amazing grace. Thank you for your salvation. Amen