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“A certain man had two sons.” Luke 15:11. And these two sons are the pride and joy of their Father’s life. With their future in mind, Father plans and works to build a financial empire for his sons’ inheritance. But as time goes by the younger son becomes restless in the family home. More and more his thoughts turn to the pleasures of the world, and eagerly he anticipates his coming of age. And so in due time, the two brothers choose their own paths of destiny.
“And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.” Luke 15:12
The older son stays with his Father investing his inheritance in the family business. But the younger son separates from his Father and brother and goes his own way.
“And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Luke 15:13
As Father watches his son leaving home he bears no grudge: His younger son shall always live in his heart of unconditional love, and the front door of the family home shall remain open always.
As the young man ventures into the pleasures and sins of the world, his ready wealth lures false friends seeking to enjoy life at his expense. Together they live a riotous life. “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die,” is their daily boast. But all too soon the prodigal’s money is spent, and his false friends disappear with the last affordable pleasure. All is gone. His expensive clothing is the only sign of his belated wealth.
“But when he had spent all, there arose a famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into the fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.” Luke 15:14-16
Meanwhile Father has not forgotten his wayward son. Inquiring into his son’s whereabouts Father soon learns of his outrageous living, and about the misspent inheritance. Even so, Father stands tall among the gossip and looks beyond his son’s recklessness to a time of spiritual renewal. After all is said and done, his son will always remain his son. And he will never give him up whatever the personal cost to himself.
True, without excuse, his son has failed him miserably, wasted the family inheritance, cast the family’s respectable name into disrepute and counted his Father’s faithful years of hard labour as little worth.
Yet the spirit of forgiveness lingers unconditionally in Father’s sympathizing heart. How he wishes his son would return home! Why should he suffer for want of food and shelter when his own Father has so much more to offer him? More and more Father looks down the road that leads home hoping to see his lost son return. As the evening sun sets over the distant hills, leaning upon his staff; father scans the horizon and waits into the shadows of night.
Now, in his sorry state, the son begins to think of his Father and the comforts of home. As he thinks upon Father’s generous spirit - his compensating heart of love - he sees in contrast his own selfishness, his own foolishness. With genuine sorrow melting his hardened heart the prodigal son repents of his sins. How differently he would treat Father now. How he would appreciate Father’s wisdom and guiding love.
So “...when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’ And he arose and came to his father...” Luke 15:17-20
And now the moment Father has waited for, unfolds before his longing eyes.
As the late afternoon sun casts a golden glow upon the grain fields, a weary figure appears on the horizon, head hung low, clothes hanging like rags upon his wasted body.
Instantly, Father recognises his youngest son’s lonely figure and with joy pulsating through his heart Father throws down his wooden staff, tossing aside all rank and dignity. Father bounds down the road with the name of his son stammering upon his quivering lips.
“...But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:20-24
And so today in the 21st century, we too are born prodigal sons and daughters of God - living in the far country of this sinful world; existing upon the dry husks of sin; famished for the want of our Heavenly Father’s saving touch.
”For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’” Romans 3:10. We have overspent our lives, wasted our spiritual inheritance, and are destitute without spiritual shelter.
But the good news resounding from Jesus’ life, is the plea for our return to the Father’s Heavenly home.
Longingly, our Heavenly Father looks down the road of our life searching for our return.“Let the wicked forsake his way,And the unrighteous man his thoughts;Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him;And to our God For He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22
As we turn our lives down the road that leads home, our Heavenly Father bounds towards us with forgiveness and love. Embracing us He clothes our naked souls with Jesus’ robe of righteousness.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10
Yes, Jesus’ redeeming life is the spiritual road leading to the Father’s home for He said, “I am the way the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Through the life of His dear Son, the Father’s message is loud and clear: “Bring the repentant sinners home, My Son. Bring them home to the mansions we have prepared.”
With tenderness Jesus says to you and I today, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for, I will come again and receive you to Myself ; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1 - 3.