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.
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 17 “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! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “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. Luke 15:11-13, 17-20. Read more here
In the Ancient Near Eastern culture, any man of dignity would never run or even walk very fast. They would walk in a slow and dignified manner. They also wore very long robes, which is one reason they could not run. This means that this man had to fold his robes – further making himself more undignified, and run. he was running to welcome a once lost son. A son who had gone away and wasted his father’s “wealth in wild living” (verse 13). I can imagine the people in his village looking at him and holding their breath wondering what had happened to this old man.
The father never thought about his glory, he never thought about what other people would say. He wanted one thing: his son restored back home. He was always waiting. His heart and eyes were always looking towards the direction that his son had taken. He was always longing for that moment when his son would come back. 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 finite and sinful humankind. 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. He is a waiting Father. We may have disappointed him but he never gives up on us. He simply accepts us. Do you notice the father simply hugged and kissed the son? He never told him to first clean up the mess he had made out of himself and then come. 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.
Prayer: 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