Throughout the course of human history God has been the pursuer. His love is an initiating love. One of the most powerful and well-known parables that Jesus taught was the parable of the “Prodigal Son”. The son is the rich brat who can buy whatever he wants; there are no restraints to his selfish and self-indulgent lifestyle. He is a boisterous drunkard womaniser who has totally rejected his father and everything he represents. But it all catches up to him; he loses everything and reaps the consequences of his actions. He is a most despicable creature. He tends the pigs that eat better than him. He has succumbed to the lowest level of the social strata - feeding pigs.
The parable could finish there, and be about the consequences of sin and riotous living - but it does not. This parable is not a lesson in morality, it is not even about the son. It is about the Father.
This story is about God - who He is and what He is actually like. It is about the way God thinks, and how he thinks. It is about the way God acts towards us. It is about the Father’s heart and joy.
“While he was still a long way off”
Jesus paints a picture of God standing on the balcony of heaven, watching and waiting, searching the horizon for the faintest inkling of a shadow of his son’s return. The father is absolutely thrilled to see him. He is overcome with joy and happiness. He does not wait for his son to complete his journey, he does not walk in a dignified fatherly way, but runs to his son - he is compelled to do so. He cannot wait another second to be reunited with his son, to touch him, to hold and embrace him. The father gives himself totally to the joy that his returning son brings.
The implication is that this moment has played upon his mind ever since the son’s departure. That which he has unceasingly longed for and hoped for has finally come to pass. The father did not first want an account, an apology, an admission of a mistake, a reassurance that it would not happen again. This never even crossed the father’s mind. It would never matter what the son had done it was his son and would never cease to be his son. This was his son who was lost and now found. “Quick” the father exhorts his servants to bring his son the “best” robe, the ring and sandals. There is no questioning, no doubting, that his son should be reinstated to his rightful position.
This reveals the divine eagerness to inaugurate the new Kingdom that has been prepared from the beginning of time. What a beautiful, beautiful picture of God.
The personal experience of The “Heavenly Father” as portrayed in this parable has the power to transform our lives and change the world.
We need our eyes and our heart open so that we can see and experience our Heavenly Father’s embrace.
Reflection > Fatherhood, Unconditional Love, Lost, Home