Monday, October 04, 2004

The Prodigal Son's Father

I can't tell you how many sermons I've heard through the years on the subject of "The Prodigal Son". What he did. How he treated his father. Where he went. How he worked with the pigs. How he squandered his inheritance. Finally, how he was restored. On and on about the son, with usually some contrasting comparisons about his elder brother.

It's supposed to be a picture of us Christians when we "backslide", and how we can return to God. And how there's always forgiveness, if we repent, turn 180 degrees, say our speeches to God, resolve to do better, etc., etc.

But is that really what it's about? The son?

Well, sure, but only incidentally. I think it's really about the Father, and His heart toward us, his children. It's a picture of God. The son is mostly a prop, added in to make a point.

So what's the point?

Notice that the prodigal son had a little speech prepared. A little repentence speech. A groveling speech. Sort of, "Father, I'm a low-down miserable worm, not worthy to be your son, so let me be a hired servant of yours."

Did the Father listen to the speech, and judge the son's sincerity by it? No! Remember? He never even listened to the speech! He was too overjoyed by his son's return! It's as though he said, "Oh shut up, you big lug! Give your daddy a hug! Welcome home, son!"

And that's the point:

God is not interested in the content of our little speeches. He isn't interested in our groveling, as if the more miserably we grovel, the more we "earn" His forgiveness. Why? Because He has already forgiven us, and paid for that forgiveness on the Cross.

Well, what is He interested in, then?

You. And me.

He is interested in our fellowship!

"Cut the speech! Get the robe! Get the ring! Kill the fatted calf! My son has returned! That's all I want! I love you, Son! I love you! Just abide in me. I'll produce the fruit. I know you've failed, and you'll fail again. But that doesn't change my love for you! And I'm at work in you both to will and to do my good pleasure!"

Oh, that we "may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled up to all the fulness of God..." (Eph. 3:18,19a NASB)

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