Summary: From the father’s reactions in the parable of the prodigal son, understand the magnitude of God’s grace for sinners.
Focus on the father’s responses in the parable of the prodigal son - Verses 22-24; 31-32
We are going to focus on the father in this story today. In order to understand this parable, we need to start with 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
You can feel the tension here – Jesus likes to spend time with the worst kind of people, and it bothered the self-righteous religious leaders. Jesus went on to tell them WHY – with 3 parables in succession – the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son.
In the 1st one – farmer has 100 sheep and lost one. Leaving the 99 he went on to look for the one that was lost. In the 2nd – a widow loses one of her 10 coins and searches intently until she finds it. In the 3rd story, a son is lost and the father longs for him until he finally comes home.
There are many things we can say about these stories but I just want to highlight ONE COMMON thread – they never give up until the lost is found! God’s grace for you is…
1. A GRACE THAT NEVER GIVES UP
Look at the father’s enthusiasm. Look at his joy. Clearly we see a LONGING in his heart for the son’s return. What a contrast with that of the elder son in this story –
· One was full of excitement and love; the other mockery and anger.
· One was longing for his return; the other wished he would never return.
· One gave him the best of everything; the other wished he would have everything for himself
It’s not easy for the father to display such an act – (1) he lost a big part of his fortune he had worked so hard to save; (2) he lost his reputation in the community, having such an unfilial son running from home. He has nothing to gain from this relationship. In fact, he risked losing more if the son had returned only with the hope of getting more from the father.
Yet 15:20 says that while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him. He has been waiting, and hoping for his return. When he saw his son, he was moved with compassion.
Have you ever wondered how long the son was gone? It was probably at least a couple of months, if not longer. Apparently the father has been watching for his son’s return. His heart wasn’t at home, but out there with his lost son.
That’s the heart of God. “I have loved you with an everlasting love…" ( Jer 31:3). His love for you does not change because you’ve changed.
After a divorce, a mom was left to bring up her teenage daughter. She was becoming increasingly rebellious. One night the police called to ask her to get her daughter from the police station, because she’d been arrested for drunk driving.
Not a word was spoken between them until the next afternoon, when mum broke the tension by giving her daughter a little gift-wrapped box. She opened it and found a small rock. Rolling her eyes she said, "What’s this for?" Her mum said, "Look underneath." She took the rock and as she read it, her eyes filled with tears. She got up, walked across the room and gave her mum a big hug.