“I will set out and go back to my father and say to him:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
make me like one of your hired servants.’
So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’”
Luke 15:18-21 (NIV)
I remember the incident as though it was yesterday. I was a beginner driver and one Sunday my father asked me to drive the family to church. Sadly, I crunched the side of our car on the rear bumper of another car as I parked outside the church.
We got out and surveyed the considerable damage to the side of the family car. Of course I made sincere apologies to my father who said nothing about it. All through church I sat in silence feeling so upset over my failure.
When we got to the car following the church service my Dad handed me the keys and simply said, “You drive son.” I was very humbled by my Dad’s acceptance of my failure and how willing he was to give me a second opportunity to prove myself.
Our verses today are part of one of the most beloved stories in Scripture. Everyone, church goers through atheists, know the story of the prodigal son. The young man had everything going for him, a loving family, financial security, and everything else desirable in life.
One day he blew it all away by asking for his share of the inheritance. Off he went another country to fun and games. Soon the money was gone and he was reduced to a job feeding pigs with food that was better than he could find for himself.
The young man became sorrowful for how he had sinned against his father and came to his senses and went home to confess his sin and beg to be given the lowest paid job on the father’s estate. Off he went to see if his Dad would forgive him and take him in.
What he did not know was that the loving father had been looking for the boy to return home and when he saw the lad in the distance he ran to meet him, and hugged and kissed the wayward son. Quickly the father called for the best of clothing in the house for his son and prepared a feast to celebrate the son’s safe return.
Perhaps today you feel like that prodigal. You have destroyed your Christian reputation, and you have shamed the Lord Who forgave your sins and Who gave you a place in His church. Look again at this story and see that our heavenly Father runs to embrace you, He is eager to show you His love and affection, He wants to receive you back into His family, angels in heaven will celebrate your return if you come. Come and come now.