25th February 2017

Let Your Father Love You!

“…he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
Luke 15:20 (NIV UK)

For many years I have had a great passion for the parable of the Prodigal Son. This story has drawn me back time after time, and each time I return I learn something new about our Father’s love. You’ll find it in Luke 15:11-31.

I’d like to focus briefly on this homecoming, this reunion of father and son. The prodigal arrives home tired, weary, starving, clothed in rags and smelling of pigs. But as you read about his return you will realise that there are no slaps here, no words like, “I told you so! Look at you, you’re a disgrace!” This reunion is filled with mercy, love, and tenderness; with hugs, kisses, compassion, tears, joy, and peace.

The Greek word translated “kissed him” is “Kataphilio”—it means he kissed him often, he kissed him much. This father’s love is bigger than his son’s rejection, bigger than his faults and failings, bigger than the rags, sin and pig smell. This is a love that nothing can separate us from. Here, Jesus paints a picture of our heavenly Father—a waiting Father, an anxious Father and above all, a Father who will humble himself by running to us, as we limp in his direction.

Notice, he doesn’t tell his servants to “Take this boy and get him cleaned up!” No! He is accepted just as he is, warts and all. Then surprise, surprise! His father calls for the best robe, and the Greek is “Protos” which means the first in value, the chief robe. This is undoubtedly the father’s garment, one he would wear on great festival occasions (notice Isaiah 61:10 in this context). This robe covers the prodigal’s rags and his disgrace. Then there’s the ring, most certainly the family signet which was used to seal and sign important documents—a bit like giving him his credit card in today’s society. And the sandals declare that this boy is not a slave but a son, as only slaves were barefoot. The Father doesn’t want slaves, he wants children.

Then the father says, “Let’s party; my son was dead and is alive again!” This is a love that won’t turn away the ragged, the weary, the tired and the smelly. This is a love that could never be paid for—because the debt has already been paid in full! The chorus of a Diana Ross song sums it up—“There ain’t no mountain high enough, there ain’t no river wide enough, there ain’t no valley low enough to keep me from you!” Thank you Father! 

Our tender Father, please help us to let you love us, help us realise that you want to do this every moment of every day. Help us to understand that we could never pay for your amazing grace and overwhelming love; but that we just accept it.

Study by Cliff Neill


About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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