Summary: A Look at the story of the Prodigal Son through the eys of the Father
A Father’s Love: The Story of the Prodigal Son
Many of us still remember our fathers even if they are no longer among us. We remember the look he gave us when he would discipline us knowing the pain it caused him, as he would carry out whatever punishment would be coming. I often remember the stories I was told as I was younger such as, the time he took me to Circus World in Florida and after I whined and complained had my clown paint taken off, and later I wanted it back and so he had it done again.
Most of us have heard this story before; it is probably one of the, if not the most famous parable of Christ. However, telling the story from the son’s perspective is often done, today however, we focus on the Father.
Now this Father is somewhat out of the ordinary, in that he allowed his son to have the inheritance early. Now in those days, that would have been as if going to your father and saying, “I wish you were dead.”
The father of the story is God. There are three types of love that the father (God) addresses in the story. First, the father showed his hands-off love. The father allowed the son to go off and make his own mistakes. This was obviously painful, the father knew what the son was going to do, and yet allowed him the opportunity to screw up. In that same way, God has allowed us the opportunity to mess up even though he knows what we will do before we even do it. He also allowed his son to learn the hard-way, from the school of Hard Knocks.
Secondly, he shows his love through his hands-on love, this is shown in verses 20-24.
“…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. The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy of being called your son. But the father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.”
The father ran to his son, this is something that never would have happened in those days, it was considered wrong for a person to run anywhere. Yet the father runs, not walks. God does the same for us every time we go to him in prayer asking for forgiveness, he runs to our aid and delivers us from death once more. The father also gave his son sandals to save his son from the humiliation of walking barefoot, because only the servants walked barefoot.
The father knew that the son has had enough humiliation after all that he has been through. He gives him a hug and a kiss, which just kind of sealed the deal, he showed his love to his son by making him welcome, after being so rude and mean to his father, and after he had wasted his inheritance on prostitutes and gambling.
Thirdly, the father showed his love through unconditional love. He shows this love through the robe he gives his son, giving his son his best robe signified his full acceptance of his son back into the family. Not only does he give him a robe, but he also gives the son a ring and sandals. As I said he gave the sandals to make sure that his son was not humiliated for not wearing sandals. The father did not set any circumstances for return. He didn’t say well you can return if you wax my donkeys, or you can return if you go feed the pigs and eat their food, or you can return but you have to follow everything I say, no he just accepted his son with a hug and a kiss signifying his full acceptance of his son back to the family. God does the same in that, while we are sinners, he allows us to talk to him and be with him. Praise God and as we sing this next hymn, reflect on how God has loved you through all you have done
Benediction - “The great soccer player Pele, was a smoker when he was younger. His father caught him one time and instead of getting angry, he called his son to the porch where they spoke his father saying, “Pele, you realize that if you continue smoking you will not play as well as you could.” Pele said “Yes, I know but I can’t stop.” His father replied as he pulled out his wallet “well if you are going to smoke, I would prefer it if you had your own and did not have to borrow.” With this, he pulled out the last two dollar bills that he had. Pele never had a problem smoking again. God forgives us and loves us unconditionally. Go and tell those around you.”