“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3: 16-17
Luke 15: 11-32
The parable of the Lost Son. At some point you may have heard it called the parable of the Prodigal Son; but do you know the meaning of the word prodigal? The dictionary defines the word in the following way – ‘generous, lavish, bountiful, wastefully extravagant, to spend money or give resources freely and recklessly.’ When we look to this definition we begin to see that this parable tells us a lot about the Prodigal Father; God Himself. To grasp this truth let us first look at the two sons, in effect at ourselves.
The younger son, dissatisfied with his lot, exercises his free will and asks for his inheritance. He then takes his leave for another land where he ‘squandered his wealth in wild living,’ (vs.13). Soon he is living in squalor feeding pigs. He ‘comes to his senses’ and in genuine humility returns in repentance to his Father. Humankind is reflected in this son. Living outside of our intended relationship with God, not in His Kingdom, we find ourselves in spiritual poverty. We too need to come to our senses and return to our Father.
The second son is in a relationship with his Father but is angry and indignant at his Father’s welcome for his wayward brother (vs. 28). Perhaps in pride and self-righteous self-justification he sees himself worthy and his brother not. Many of us may see ourselves in this son and feel sympathy with him. What we really see though is a son who does not fully understand his Father’s love and who is not living in the fullness of a blessed relationship with Him (vs. 31).
So we turn to the Father. The Father did not have to divide up the estate at his son’s request. He did not have to look for that son’s return nor run down the road to welcome him with open arms (only children ran, elders walked). He laid aside His honour twice and provided a lavish celebration for the wayward son. The Father with all his wealth, love and provision was always present for the second son, whether or not that son realised his rich position. In neither case did the Father force his love on His sons but was present in abundant, boundless and inexhaustible love wanting the absolute best for His children. This is our loving Prodigal Father God who loves the world so much that He sent His Son in love not to condemn us but to save us (John 3: 16-17). Our part, as with the sons in the parable, is to see who our Father is, to believe and return to Him – to wallow in His extravagant love in a very real relationship.
To Ponder: In which son do you see yourself most reflected? Meditate on our Father God’s love for us by unpacking His love that we see in the parable and in John 3: 16-17. How does this love welcome and encompass you?
Prayer: Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father: give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that we may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy spirit, one God now and forever. Amen
Praise: How deep the Father’s love for us
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzQj7XvKFmA
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,