the prodigal father
Prod-i-gal: adjective, 2. having or giving something on a lavish scale.
When we say prodigal, our first thought is the story in Luke 15, of a son who left his father. For now, though, let’s consider the prodigal love of the father.
His youngest came to him, demanding his share of the inheritance. Imagine as a parent how you’d respond. Um, how about…No!?! Or maybe you’re no would be more colorful, and you might think your child was a little unstable. You’d likely be offended, even hurt.
This father of the story isn’t like us. He actually gives his youngest half of his estate.
Remember, Jesus told this story to a group of His followers and His challengers, in response to accusations of why He was spending time among known sinners. What’s compelling in His response is no one who has ever lived or will ever live knows the Heavenly Father like Jesus.
“No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is Himself God, is near to the Father's heart. He has revealed God to us.” – John 1:18
Jesus. He is the unique One, who came to us, to reveal how God thinks of us. They have such a close relationship; they are one in the same.
In John 12, Jesus says when we see Him, we are seeing The Father. We struggle to understand this relationship because it is hard to comprehend and mysterious, but it’s worth our struggle because of His extravagant, prodigal love for us.
“I had no idea that God’s love was extravagant and irresistible. I had no idea that the God of the universe loved me with no conditions, no addenda to the contract, no fine print. I had no idea God was passionate about me. His passion for me, His love for me makes me want to love like Him.” – Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli
This prodigal father lets His son go, with half of his belongings, and he waits for his son’s return. The return isn’t a guarantee, but the father waits.
We, too, have a Father who permits us make our choices, with eternity on the line. He waits for us to turn to Him.
When the son comes home, the father runs to him. No questions about where he’s been, where the money is, who he was with or what he has been doing…he just runs to embrace his lost son.
Jesus’ point? Everyone has value to our Heavenly Father, and when they turn to Him, He rejoices! All of heaven rejoices with Him.
Friend, He rejoices over you!
In this chapter, Jesus tells 3 stories that all end with the father figure rejoicing over the return of their sheep, coin or son. And Jesus says this is how heaven rejoices when we turn to our Father.
It’s a wonderful story, but does the Creator of the universe really feel this way about me?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
In His Word, we learn His nature; to forgive us, to come for us, to lavish His love on us, in spite of our faults and mistakes. He is extravagant. His love for us doesn’t make sense; it’s reckless, overwhelming and exactly what we need.
“He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. ...The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. – Psalm 103:3,4,8
“But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” – Romans 5:8
“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)” – Ephesians 2:4-5
Let’s stay in His Word, and spend time with Him, until we grasp a better view of ourselves. We desperately need to see ourselves, and all of those around us, like our Father sees us.