All of us have heard about the Prodigal Son, and all of you know that I keep bringing the story up, so I am not going into the details of the story, (Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief). However, I do want to say that it is not primarily about a lost son. It is actually a story about the father’s joy and delight.
Yeah, yeah. I admit that the story of the Prodigal Son is about the son returning home (Luke 15:11-31), but don’t think that it is just about the son finally coming home. It is also about what kept the son home afterwards (and caused him to return, in the first place). It is story about Grace, Forgiveness and Restoration. Read the story again, and I want you to notice that the story doesn’t end when he returns—because this is significant.
What is it that kept the son home? It is the knowledge that his father delighted in him! “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry…[with] music and dancing” (Luke 15:24-25).
In this story, have you ever noticed that the Prodigal’s father never knocked him in the head; he never condemned him; he never even mentioned how offensive it was for him to leave, nor even how much if hurt him. Instead, he threw a party and invited all their friends and neighbors. For years that father had been waiting for his son to come home, and now he finally did!
Yeah, at first the Prodigal argued with his dad, and he kept saying, “No, no, I’m not worthy.” But his father ignored him, told the servants to bring a robe to be put on his shoulders, rings on his fingers and bells on his toes . . . oops sorry, he ordered shoes on his feet. The key here is that now, everything that the father owned was once again made available to the son. Everybody was partying, the music was probably loud, everybody was dancing and eating the food.
What I am getting at is that love is what brought the “Prodigal” home. But it was the father’s delight and joy that kept him there! You see, the Prodigal stayed with his father because of the simple act of waking up each day and seeing that his dad was happy to have him home again. His father was excited to have him there with him. But not just that. Everything in that the Prodigal’s life that had been eaten away was being restored.
I have been reading books and articles on addictions, and something I discovered about those in recovery, ts that they are very much like the Prodigal. The only thing they can focus on is what they had lost over the years due to their habit: it could have been a spouse, their children, even a ministry. Most of those with addictions feel that the Lord is angry with them and chastening them. This is the time Jesus’ parables come in handy! This is when Jesus is able to say, “Nothing is lost in my Kingdom. You are going to be made stronger through this. You are home now and my grace will restore you in full.”
So, what is holding you back? Are you afraid, for whatever reason, to receive His forgiveness and acceptance? Do you still feel unworthy and unable to receive His love? Stop it right now, and understand that the only thing standing between you and His forgiveness, is your unwillingness to admit that you will never meet His standards. But that is the point, He offered the life of His Son, so that you could meet His standard! It was the sacrifice of His Son that purchased your acceptance . . . so let it go, and receive His love!
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.