The Father Meets You In the Place of Returning & Walks With You Into the House

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses eleven through thirty-two of the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament book. “And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that fialleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there washed his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country: and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would faint have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s house bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again: he was lose, and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:11-24)

 

            “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come: and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet. Thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:25-32).

 

            A CERTAIN MAN HAD TWO SONS! AND THE YOUNGER SON! (WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE YOUNGER SON?) FATHER, GIVE ME THE PORTION OF GOODS THAT FALLETH TO ME! [GIVE ME, THAT FALLETH TO ME—SELF CENTERED FOCUS]. AND HE DIVIDED UNTO THEM HIS LIVING! THE TEXT SUGGESTS THE FATHER GAVE BOTH SONS THE PORTION OF THEIR INHERITANCE! THE OLDER SON RECEIVED THE SAME THING AS THE YOUNGER SON! [WHAT ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF BIRTHRIGHT? WHAT ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF BLESSING?] NOT MANY DAYS [NO TIME WASTED] THE YOUNGER SON GATHERED ALL TOGETHER! TOOK HIS JOURNEY INTO A FAR COUNTRY! [IT WASN’T ENOUGH SIMPLY TO RECEIVE THE PORTION OF THE FATHER’S GOODS! THE SON PACKED UP EVERYTHING AND LEFT HOME! THE YOUNGER SON DIDN’T MERELY TAKE HIS PORTION OF THE INHERITANCE, THE YOUNGER SON DIDN’T MERELY PACK UP EVERYTHING HE HAD, THE YOUNGER SON DIDN’T MERELY GO INTO A FAR COUNTRY, THE YOUNGER SON WASTED HIS SUBSTANCE] THE YOUNGER SON DIDN’T WASTE HIS SUBSTANCE—HE WASTED THE FATHER’S SUBSTANCE! [EZEKIEL 16]. THE SON DEMANDED! THE SON PACKED UP! THE SON DEPARTED! THE SON WENT INTO A FAR COUNTRY! THE SON WASTED HIS SUBSTANCE! RIOTOUS LIVING! WHEN HE HAD SPENT ALL! [WHEN THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT!]

 

            THE FAMINE CAME AFTER HE HAD SPENT ALL! [ISN’T IT INTERESTING THAT THE FAMINE DIDN’T COME WHILE THE SON STILL HAD HIS SUBSTANCE?] THE FAMINE CAME AT THE PLACE OF EMPTINESS! THE FAMINE CAME AT THE POINT OF NO MORE SUBSTANCE! FIRST COMES THE END OF SUBSTANCE, SECOND COMES THE FAMINE! SPENT ALL! A MIGHTY FAMINE! HE BEGAN TO BE IN WANT! HE JOINED HIMSELF TO A CITIZEN OF THAT COUNTRY! HE SENT HIM INTO HIS FIELDS TO FEED SWINE! AND NO MAN GAVE UNTO HIM! [AND WHEN HE CAME TO HIMSELF, HE SAID] HOW MANY HIRED SERVANTS OF MY FATHER’S HAVE BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE, AND I PERISH WITH HUNGER! I WILL ARISE AND GO TO MY FATHER, AND WILL SAY! FATHER, I HAVE SINNED AGAINST HEAVEN, AND BEFORE THEE! WHEN THE SON DESIRES TO BE A SERVANT! [THE SON RETURNED DESIRING TO BE MADE A SERVANT AND WOULD BE RESTORED AS A SON! THE FATHER WOULD NOT MAKE THIS YOUNGER SON A SERVANT, FOR RELATIONSHIP NECESSITATED RESTORATION AS A SON! SO LONG AS YOU RETURN, RESTORATION AS A SON OR DAUGHTER AWAITS YOU! AND HE AROSE, AND CAME TO HIS FATHER!

 

            BUT WHEN HE WAS YET A GREAT WAY OFF, HIS FATHER SAW HIM, AND HAD COMPASSION, AND RAN, AND FELL ON HIS NECK AND KISSED HIM! THE FATHER SAW HIM! THE FATHER HAD COMPASSION ON HIM! THE FATHER RAN TOWARD HIM! THE FATHER FELL ON HIS NECK! THE FATHER KISS HIM! [NOTICE THE FATHER DIDN’T RUN AFTER THE SON AS HE WAS LEAVING, BUT HE DID RUN TOWARD HIM AS HE WAS RETURNING! STOP AND THINK ABOUT A GOSPEL WHERE THE FATHER DOESN’T RUN AFTER YOU—EVEN WHEN YOU RUN AWAY FROM HIM! THIS PARABLE SEEMS TO SUGGEST THE FATHER DIDN’T RUN AFTER THE SON TO KEEP HIM FROM LEAVING, BUT IT DOES SUGGEST THE FATHER RAN TOWARD THE SON TO EMBRACE HIM AND CALL HIM UNTO HIMSELF ONCE MORE! [THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS PARABLE IS IN THE CASE OF THE LOST SHEEP THE SHEPHERD WENT OUT LOOKING FOR THE SHEEP UNTIL HE FOUND IT, AND THE WOMAN SEARCHED HER ENTIRE HOUSE UNTIL SHE FOUND THE COIN WHICH WAS LOST! IN THIS PARABLE THE FATHER RAN AFTER THE SON AS HE WAS LEAVING, NOR WENT SEARCHING FOR HIM AFTER HE LEFT! THE FATHER LET THE SON LEAVE, THE FATHER LET THE SON LIVE!]

 

            I HAVE SINNED AGAINST HEAVEN! I HAVE SINNED AGAINST YOU! [THE CONTRAST BETWEEN GIVE ME AND MAKE ME! THE YOUNGER SON’S FIRST REQUEST WAS “GIVE ME” WHEREAS THE YOUNGER SON’S SECOND REQUEST WAS “MAKE ME!” CLOTHE HIM (REPLACE THE CLOTHES HE RETURNED HOME WITH WITH NEW CLOTHES) PUT A RING ON HIS HAND! PUT SHOES ON HIS FEET! THE RESTORATION OF SONSHIP! THIS MY SON WAS DEAD, AND IS ALIVE AGAIN! HE WAS LOST, AND IS FOUND! DEAD AND LOST VS. ALIVE AND FOUND!

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will experience the third of the three parables Jesus spoke in light of the publicans and sinners drawing near unto the Lord Jesus Christ to hear Him speak. If you begin reading the first and opening verses of the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke you will find all the publicans and sinners drawing near unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak, and how their drawing near unto Him drew the ire and the angst of the scribes and the Pharisees. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture it’s that this wasn’t the first time the scribes and the Pharisees would murmur, grumble and complain within themselves concerning Jesus’ entertaining of the publicans and sinners. What’s more, is that this wouldn’t be the last time individuals during those days would murmur and grumble within themselves concerning Jesus’ entertaining of publicans and sinners. Earlier on within the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke you will find Jesus coming across one by the name of Levi sitting at the receipt of custom and calling him to follow Him. What we find within this particular passage is Levi immediately leaving, abandoning and forsaking everything he had and arising to follow Jesus. What we find next in the narrative of Levi is even more remarkable and astounding, for Levi didn’t merely forsake everything he had and everything that he knew to follow Jesus, but he also prepared a great feast and supper for Jesus within his own home and invited Jesus into his home to dine and fellowship with him. Not only this, but you will find that there were many publicans and sinners who also attended this dinner—presumably because of their close relationship and affiliation with Levi whom Jesus had called.

 

            It’s actually quite astounding and remarkable when you read the words which are found within this portion of Scripture, for you almost get the sense that Jesus recognized and understood that Levi was in and of himself a key that would help unlock a tremendous ministry within and among the publicans and the sinners. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning Jesus and His public life and ministry during those three and a half years He walked upon the earth it’s that He undoubtedly came to seek and to save the lost. In fact, there were multiple occasions when Jesus would Himself emphatically declare that He had come to seek and to save those who were lost. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would indeed come to find those who were lost rather than found, and to seek after and save those who were dead versus those who were alive. What’s more, is that when you look at those whom Jesus invited to walk with and follow Him you will find that among the twelve men whom He appointed as apostles unto and for Himself He would deliberately and intentionally chose one who was a publican. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for not only would Jesus enter into the homes of publicans and sinners, and not only would Jesus entertain and fellowship with publicans and sinners, but Jesus would invite a publican to walk with and follow Him as one of His disciples. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for when Jesus called and invited Levi to walk with and follow Him it would not only open up the door into Matthew’s home, but it would seemingly open the door unto a great number of publicans and sinners. In all reality this is truly astonishing when you take the time to think about it, for it’s almost as if Jesus knew and understood that by calling Levi to walk with and follow Him—and not only calling Levi to walk with and follow Him, but also ordaining him to be one of his disciples and apostles—there would be a great and effectual door that would be opened unto the publicans and sinners.

 

            As I sit here thinking about the call and invitation given unto Levi when Jesus found him sitting at the receipt of the custom I can’t help but consider and be brought face to face with the fact that Jesus knew that by calling Levi to walk with and follow Him, He would be doing more than simply adding a disciple to His number. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words which are found in this portion of Scripture that Jesus knew the sphere of influence Levi would and could have among the publicans and sinners based on his occupation as a tax collector. It is truly something worth thinking about when you read the narrative of Jesus calling Levi to walk with and follow Him, for not only did Jesus’ call and invitation to Levi open the door to his house, but it also opened a tremendous door to publicans and sinners. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how incredibly important this truly is, for when we read the narrative of Jesus calling Levi we find this call and invitation initially resulting in Levi forsaking all to follow Jesus, but we also find this call opening up the door to Levi’s own house. What’s more, is that the call and invitation of Levi to walk with and follow Jesus would open up an even greater door—not only an effectual door of ministry, but also a tremendous door of offense. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading these words, for the call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus Christ would call Levi to walk with and follow Him, and as a direct result of Jesus calling Levi to walk with and follow Him it would result in many publicans and sinners also entering into His presence. What’s more than this, is the fact that noy only would the call of Levi to walk with and follow Jesus result in many publicans and sinners hearing Him teach and speak, but it might very well have resulted in many publicans and sinners becoming disciples and followers of Jesus as well.

           

            The more I think about and consider this particular reality, the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus’ call and invitation given unto Levi would do and accomplish more than simply cause this man to forsake all and rise up to walk with and follow Him. As a direct result of Jesus calling Levi to walk with and follow Him—not only would Levi’s home be opened unto Jesus, but Levi’s home would also be opened unto other publicans and sinners. Oh we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to the incredibly powerful picture that the call of one man would and could result in something much greater than he could even think or imagine. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to the sphere of influence Levi had, and the undeniable truth that Jesus knew and understood that sphere of influence. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus knew and understood the influence Levi had with his fellow publicans and sinners, and it was for this reason He called and invited him to walk with and follow Him. When Jesus called Levi while sitting at the receipt of custom to walk with and follow Him, Levi would initially rise from that place, forsake all and follow Jesus, but Levi would later open up his own home unto Jesus and His disciples. With this being said, however, we must also recognize and understand that Jesus’ call and invitation given unto Levi to walk with and follow Him was the catalyst and springboard for an even greater fellowship that would take place during those days. I am absolutely and completely convinced that Jesus’ call and invitation given unto Levi fulfilled and accomplished so much more than simply bringing this man to walk with and follow Him, for Jesus’ call to Levi would unlock and open a door unto the publicans and sinners—those who were marginalized, ostracized and vilified within society and the culture during those days. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely wonderful and incredible this truly is, for there is not a doubt within my mind that Jesus knew and understood that by calling and inviting a publican and a sinner to walk with and follow Him a great and effectual door of ministry would be opened unto publicans and sinners simply and solely because of the sphere of influence Levi had among his fellow peers and partners.

 

            This particular concept is all the more intriguing and astonishing when you think about and consider another tax collector whom Jesus would encounter within this very same gospel. IF you turn and direct your attention to the nineteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find a man by the name of Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector during those days. This man named Zacchaeus was a short man and when hearing that Jesus was going to be passing by that way in the region of Jericho he would run ahead and climb into a sycamore tree for to see Jesus. When Jesus came to that place and saw Zacchaeus—not only would Jesus call him by name, but Jesus would also declare that on this particular day He needed to enter into his house. Scripture records how immediately Zacchaeus would come down from the tree and would receive Jesus joyfully and gladly unto himself and into his home. On this particular occasion, however, those who were with Jesus—most likely common folk who were walking with and following Jesus—were offended with Jesus and murmured against Him because He purposed to enter into the home of one who was a sinner. Oh we must needs realize and understand that not only was Zacchaeus a tax collector, but he was a chief tax collector. If Levi had influence within and among his peers and partners being a tax collector, I can only imagine the sphere and influence Zacchaeus would have had during those days. What we find concerning this particular encounter is that within the home of Zacchaeus—not only would he vow to give half of what he had unto the poor, but we also find him declaring that if he had taken and acquired anything by false accusation he would restore four-fold. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that there within the home of Zacchaeus we find a tremendous willingness within his heart and mind to give unto the poor and to restore unto the victims.

 

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome and incredible truth surrounding Zacchaeus, I can’t help but be absolutely and incredible captivated with and by the fact that Zacchaeus was undoubtedly a tremendous key to, unto and within the city of Jericho. With this being said, I must needs declare and emphatically proclaim that not only was Zacchaeus a key unto the city of Jericho based on his profession, but he was a key within and unto the city of Jericho because of what he had done, as well as his influence. I firmly believe and understand that Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He called unto Zacchaeus and when He entered into his home, for Jesus recognized and understood that if salvation came to Zacchaeus and unto his household the poor would be ministered to, the victims would find restoration and reparations, and other publicans and sinners would perhaps experience a tremendous exposure to Jesus. We know that when Jesus called Levi who was sitting at the receipt of custom to walk with and follow Him—not only did Levi forsake all and follow Him, but he also opened up his home to Jesus, he prepared a great feast and supper for Jesus, and a great and effectual door was opened unto many publicans and sinners. I can’t help but think and get the sense that just as Levi’s home being opened unto Jesus resulted in many publicans and sinners encountering Jesus, so also would Zacchaeus’ home be opened unto even more publicans and sinners. There is something truly and incredibly powerful when you think about the fact that Levi was referred to as a tax collector, and how when Jesus called him to follow Him there were many publicans and sinners who would encounter and experience the person and presence of Jesus the Christ  If calling Levi to walk with and follow Him would result in many publicans and sinners encountering and experience the presence of Jesus then just imagine what would and could have happened if Jesus entered into the home of a chief tax collector within the city of Jericho. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there might have been more within the house of Zacchaeus than simply himself, Jesus and the disciples, for there might very well have been other publicans and sinners who were present as well.

 

            THE WITNESS OF PUBLICANS AND SINNERS! THE WITNESS AND TESTIMONY OF A TAX COLLECTOR! THE WITNESS AND TESTIMONY OF A CHIEF TAX COLLECTOR! I firmly believe and am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture that Jesus knew, recognized and understood what He was doing when desiring to enter into the house and home of Zacchaeus, for when Jesus entered into the house of Zacchaeus salvation would indeed and would in fact come unto that place. Not only this, but as a direct result of Jesus entering into the home of Zacchaeus—not only would the poor be ministered unto, and not only would the victims find restoration, but I would dare say there would be an even greater witness that would be present among the publicans and sinners. The simple fact that Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector would have undoubtedly suggested a tremendous witness and sphere of influence he would and could have had during those days. Imagine the tremendous witness and testimony that would be present within the city of Jericho when this chief tax collector started restoring four-fold that which he had taken by false accusation. Stop and think about what would and could have happened in Jericho if all of a sudden a tremendous ministry to the poor began to be manifested as a direct result of Zacchaeus as he would take half of what he had and distribute unto the poor. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible it is when you think about and consider this particular narrative and passage of Scripture, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that when Jesus sought to enter into the home of Zacchaeus, and when Jesus sought to engage in fellowship and relationship with Zacchaeus, He was seeking to accomplish more than interact with this particular tax collector. There is not a doubt in my mind that as a direct result of Jesus’ desire to enter into the home of Zacchaeus the poor and the victims would experience a tremendous ministry—one which they perhaps neither anticipated, nor expected. Not only this, but I can’t help but imagine what it would and could have been during those days for Zacchaeus to all of a sudden begin giving unto and distributing to the poor. I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like for the people of Jericho who had perhaps been victimized by Zacchaeus to all of a sudden experience this transformation within his life—a transformation that would ultimately result in his restoring four-fold what he had taken by false accusation, and giving unto the poor.

 

            I absolutely love the narrative of Levi and Zacchaeus, for here were two tax collectors whom Jesus would engage with, and as a direct result of Jesus’ engagement with them a number of others individuals during those days would find and experience a tremendous opportunity experience ministry. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for as a direct result of Jesus’ call and invitation given unto Zacchaeus we find the poor being ministered to, and we find the victims experiencing restoration. When we think about and consider the fact that Jesus called Levi to walk with and follow Him—not only would the house and home of Levi be opened unto Jesus, but many publicans and sinners would encounter and experience the person and presence of Jesus. Stop and think about the tremendous impact that was felt and was created during those days as a direct result of Jesus calling Levi to walk with and follow Him, and Jesus seeking and desiring to enter into the home of Zacchaeus. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to something which we dare not and must not miss. It would be one thing to simply read in the fifteenth chapter how all the publicans and sinners came unto Jesus to hear Him speak, however, it is something else entirely and altogether different to think and consider the tremendous influence and impact other publicans and sinners might very well have had unto, within and among them. I absolutely love reading the narrative of Jesus calling Levi who was also called Matthew, for as a direct result of Jesus calling Levi we find many publicans and sinners experiencing the person and presence of Jesus within his home. What makes this even more captivating is when you think about the fact that in the opening verse of the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke we don’t simply find “many” publicans and sinners coming unto Jesus, but we find “all” publicans and sinners coming unto and drawing near to Jesus. Oh stop and consider how absolutely remarkable this transformation truly is—the transformation that exists from many publicans and sinners experiencing Jesus within the house and home of a single tax collector, to all the publicans and sinners coming and drawing near unto Jesus.

 

            HOW MANY IS “MANY?” HOW MANY IS “ALL?” I sit here today thinking about and considering how absolutely incredible and tremendous this truth truly is, and there is a part of me that wonders how many publicans and sinners experienced and encountered the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ within the home of Levi after He had been called by Jesus. I can’t help but wonder how many were actually present within house and home of Levi when he prepared that great feast and supper for Jesus. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear as to how many publicans and sinners were actually present within the home of Levi on this particular occasion, and we are left to speculate as to how many were actually present there on this particular day. With this being said, I find it all the more captivating and intriguing when you think about and consider the fact that in the opening verse of the fifteenth chapter we find Luke writing how “all” the publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus. The question I can’t help but ask myself when reading these words is whether or not it was truly and indeed all the publicans and sinners, thus signifying each and every publican and sinner drawing near to Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak. Is it possible that absolutely every publican and sinner came unto Jesus for to hear and listen to Him speak, and if so then stop and think about what that sight must have looked like. Stop for a moment and think about what it would have looked like as every publican or tax collector, and every sinner within this particular city and/or town came unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak. What’s more, is stop and think about what that sight would have looked like for all sinners and publicans to come unto Jesus for to hear Him speak. Stop and think about what it would have looked like for absolutely every sinner which was present within the city during and at that time to draw near unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak. What a great and glorious sight it would have been to witness and behold all the publicans and all the sinners to come unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak.

 

            Oh I read the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture and I am absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that at the very outset and opening of this chapter we find all the publicans and sinners drawing near unto Jesus for to hear Him. What an absolutely and incredibly awesome and powerful truth this truly is, and what a tremendous sight it must have been like for all the publicans to leave their post, and for all the sinners to leave what they were and would have been doing to hear and listen to Jesus speak. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading this particular passage of Scripture and to think about tax collector booths and receipts of custom being emptied and abandoned because those who sat at them had left to draw near to Jesus to hear Him speak. Imagine what it would and could have been like for the streets of the city to be completely and utterly empty as sinners would draw near unto Jesus to hear Him speak. I can’t help but imagine what it must have been like within this particular city, town and village and how sinners and publicans would leave their “posts” so to speak in order that they might draw near and come unto Jesus. The publicans and sinners would drop and stop what they were doing that they might draw near to listen to and hear Jesus teach and speak—a reality which is truly remarkable when you take the time to think about it. What’s more, is that I absolutely love the fact that when you read these words you will find Luke emphatically declaring that “all” the publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus for to hear Him. Oh what a great and glorious sight this must have been like for the publicans and sinners to draw near unto Jesus—and we know that it was a tremendous sight, for Luke writes and records how the scribes and Pharisees murmured within themselves when they saw it. WE must needs acknowledge and understand that when all publicans and sinners draw near unto Jesus it is going to draw the ire, the angst, the curiosity and even the offense of religion and other folk who witness and behold it. Oh imagine what it would have looked and been like for every publican and every sinner within a specific city, town or village to draw near unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak. What a truly astonishing and remarkable concept this is when you take the time to think about it, for it forces us to acknowledge and understand the condition of our own hearts.

 

            The more I think about and consider this particular reality the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that there is something incredibly powerful when many publicans and sinners draw near unto Jesus. With this being said, however, I would dare say there is something all the more captivating when “all” publicans and sinners draw near unto the person of Jesus Christ to hear and listen to Him speak. We know that there were many publicans and sinners who experienced the person and presence of Jesus in the house of Levi, and we know that there might very well have been many publicans and sinners who would have witnessed and beheld the transformation and testimony of Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and we have to think about the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture and how Luke doesn’t just record how many publicans and sinners came unto Jesus to hear Him speak, but that “all” the publicans and sinners came unto Him to hear and listen to Him speak. Stop and think about what many of our cities today would look like if all the sinners came into the church buildings for to hear and experience the person and presence of Jesus. Pause for a moment and think about what our cities, towns and villages would be like if all the sinners and all those who victimized others within and throughout their lives began drawing near unto Jesus. What a tremendous and glorious sight it would truly be if not only many sinners came unto the Lord Jesus Christ to hear Him speak. Oh there is truly something remarkable and powerful when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture, for Luke doesn’t merely write and record how many publicans and sinners came unto Jesus for to hear Him speak, but Luke records how all the publicans and sinners came unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak. Oh there is something truly captivating when you take the time to think about and consider this particular truth, for it says something when all—all meaning each and every—publican and sinner drew near unto Jesus for to hear Him speak.

 

            When we read the words found in this portion of Scripture we find that as a direct result of the publicans and sinners drawing near unto Jesus, and as a direct result of the scribes and the Pharisees murmuring and complaining against Jesus because He entertained those who came near unto Him, He would teach and speak three distinct parables. The first parable would not necessarily be a parable alone, but would be more of a question which would be presented unto those who heard and listened to Jesus speak. The first parable which would be presented unto those who were present was centered upon which one among them who would have one hundred sheep would rise up and leave the ninety and nine sheep to search for that one sheep which was lost until they found it. The first question Jesus would present unto those who were present on this particular day is which one among them would not leave that which they had within their lives in order to find that which they had lost. Oh it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture, for the first question which Jesus poses and presents unto those who were present centered upon what they would do and how they would respond if they had one hundred sheep and one of them was lost and had gone astray. With this initial parable Jesus acknowledges the fact that they would leave the ninety and nine sheep—perhaps leave them with a hireling or servant of some sort—and embark on a journey until they found that sheep which was lost. This initial parable which Jesus would present unto those which were present on this particular day speaks of that which was lost—and not only that which was lost, but also the pursuit to recover that which was lost. Oh we dare not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this portion of Scripture, for the underlying principle that is found here is not only the fact that this sheep was lost and had gone astray, but also the pursuit and endeavor to search after and search for the sheep until it was found. With this first parable Jesus highlights and underscores the relentless pursuit of that shepherd or that owner of sheep who would set out to seek after and search for that sheep until they found it. In all reality this first and initial parable was not solely about that which was lost, but also about the pursuit of that which was lost—the pursuit to recover that which was lost, and the pursuit to restore that which was lost unto the sheepfold with the other ninety-and nine sheep. RESCUING THE LOST SHEEP! RESTORING THE LOST SHEEP TO THE FOLD! RECOVERING THE LOST SHEEP!

 

            With this concept of seeking after and searching for the lost sheep being highlighted and underscored we find Jesus transitioning to another scenario—namely, a woman who had ten pieces of silver and who lost one of those pieces of silver. Now, you might think that simply losing one piece of silver would be acceptable, or losing one sheep out of ninety-nine would be acceptable, however, that is not the case with these parables which Jesus presented unto those who were present. If and as you read these parables which Jesus told and spoke you will find that it was not acceptable for one sheep out of an hundred sheep to be lost, nor was it acceptable for one piece of silver out of ten pieces of silver to be lost. While on the surface it might seem that these first two parables were simply and solely about that which was being lost, we must needs recognize and understand that as surely as it was about that which was lost it was also about the pursuit and the journey to recover that which was lost. In the case of the lost piece of silver we find not a pursuit or a journey to recover that which was lost, but we find a candle being lighted, we find a house being swept, and we find a diligent searching for that lost piece of silver until it was found. In the case of the sheep which was lost we find the shepherd and owner of the sheep setting out on their journey—perhaps with their staff in their hand—and setting out to search for that sheep until they found it. OH it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading these words how the woman who lost the piece of silver would search for that piece of silver until she found it. In the case of the sheep which was lost that owner of the sheep would search for that sheep until they found it. I am absolutely and completely convinced that these two parables aren’t necessarily solely about that which was lost, but also about the pursuit to recover that which was lost. These parables sought to reveal unto those who would hear and listen to Jesus teach and speak the tremendous pursuit of that which was lost in order that it might be recovered and restored.

 

            What makes the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke so incredibly intriguing and captivating when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that after telling the parable of the lost sheep, and after telling the parable of the lost silver, Jesus would transition to the parable of the lost son. Of course we know and understand this third and final parable to be referred to as “the parable of the prodigal son.” THE LOST SHEEP, THE LOST SILVER, THE LOST SON! THE LOST SHEEP, THE LOST SILVER, THE PRODIGAL SON! Any student of the Scripture will undoubtedly be aware of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, and its tremendous significance and impact during those days in which He taught and during those days in which He walked upon the face of the earth. It is something worth thinking about and considering when you come to this third and final parable Jesus taught in the company of publicans and sinners, as will as scribes and Pharisees that it would not only be a parable of one son, but it would be a parable of two sons. If you truly take the time to think about and consider this parable you will find that it wasn’t merely a parable of one son, but it was a parable that would tell another story and narrative concerning the other son—the elder son who would not depart from the father’s house. It would be very easy to read the parable of the prodigal son and to think and consider that it was solely about this younger son who departed from the father’s house with his portion of the father’s goods, however, we must needs recognize and understand that this parable was just as much about the younger son as it was about the elder son. WE dare not read this particular parable and focus solely and squarely upon the younger son without and apart from also focusing on the elder son who would remain within the father’s house and who would not leave, nor depart from the father’s house. This particular parable is one that speaks of two sons, and while the narrative and language of the younger son is the dominant theme within the parable, we must needs recognize that the older brother has a part which he played in the parable as well.

 

            As you read the words which are found within this parable you will find that a certain man had two sons. There would come a point in time when the younger son would come unto the father with a very specific request which he would ask. The younger son of this certain man would come unto the father and essentially demand the father to give him the portion of goods which fell to him. I feel a tremendous need to pause here and state that the younger son did not express why he wanted the portion of goods which fell to him, nor did he state what he intended on doing with the portion of goods which were given unto him. Nowhere in this parable do we at all see and encounter the younger son describing unto the father what he desired and intended on doing with his portion of the goods which fell unto him. The only thing we find in this passage of Scripture is the younger son coming unto the father and demanding of him that he give unto him his portion of goods which fell to him by inheritance. What makes this parable truly astonishing when you take the time to think about it is that the father did indeed take his goods and divide them up, however, he didn’t merely give unto the younger son. If and as you read the words found in this parable you will find that the father “divided unto them his living.” Oh this particular parable seems to suggest that when the younger son obtained his inheritance the elder son also obtained the inheritance that fell to him. It would be incredibly easy to read this particular parable and consider the fact that it was only the younger son who obtained the portion of goods and the inheritance which fell unto him. The truth of the matter, however, is that this simply is not the case, for the text seems to suggest that the elder son also received his portion of the father’s goods, and his inheritance. Oh stop and think about the fact that two sons would each receive their own portion of the father’s goods and the inheritance which was theirs, and yet one would take that inheritance and depart into a far country, while the other son would not only hold on to his inheritance, but would also remain within the house of the father.

 

            Upon reading the words which are found in this parable you will find the younger son coming unto the father and demanding that he give him the portion of goods which belonged to him. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize and understand that the younger son did not immediately reveal unto the father his intentions and what he planned on doing with the portion of goods which fell to him. The younger son demanded of the father the portion of goods which fell unto him based on his own sense of entitlement, and yet we find the father willingly giving unto the son that which he demanded and requested of him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for while there is no record of the younger son revealing unto the father that which he attempted to do with the portion of goods which fell to him, I have to believe that the father knew what the younger son would and could have done with what was given unto him. I have to believe that the father knew his younger son, and yet even though the father knew his son, he still gave him the portion of goods which belonged to him. Oh if there is one thing I can’t help but think about when considering this parable it’s that the father could have taken two distinct actions within the life of this younger son who came unto him demanding that he give unto him the portion of goods which belonged to him. On the one hand the father could have refused the demand and request of the younger son and declared unto him that he was not ready to receive the portion of goods which belonged to him. The father could have declared unto the son that he was not ready to receive the portion of goods which fell to him, and therefore would not have given them unto him. The father could have sought to explain to his younger son the myriad of ways and reasons he was not ready to receive the portion of goods which fell unto him, and he could have taken the time to explain to his younger son why he was not willing to give unto him the portion of goods which he demanded and requested. What’s more, is the father could have asked the younger son what he intended and planned to do with the portion of goods which would and could have been given unto him. The father could have engaged himself in a discussion and dialogue with the younger son to try and understand—not only why he wanted the portion of goods, but also what he planned on doing with it that portion of goods.

 

            If there is one thing that is so incredibly interesting when you read this particular portion of Scripture it is not necessarily the actions of the younger son, but the actions of the father. There has been much emphasis placed on the younger son and the request and demand he made of his father, and yet the truth of the matter is that there must be some discussion and dialogue given concerning the father of these two sons. The more you read the words which are found in this particular parable the more you will find that the younger son would indeed demand of his father that he be given the portion of goods which fell unto him, however, we must needs recognize and understand the actions of the father. Nowhere in this parable did the father rebuke his younger son for making such a request, nor is there anywhere in the parable where the father refused the younger son’s request for the portion of goods which had fallen unto him. Stop for a moment and think about how truly astonishing that truly is, for it gives this parable an entirely different meaning when you think about how the father neither rebuked the son for his request and demand, nor did the father refuse his younger son’s demand and request. Oh there is something to be said when you read this particular portion of Scripture and you encounter the fact that the father played just as much a role in this narrative as the younger son did, for not only did the father not rebuke his younger son for his request, and not only did the father not refuse the younger son’s request, but the father also gave unto his son what he had asked for. With this being said, I would dare say that the father knew his son and knew what his son would have done with the portion of the goods that would have been given unto him, and yet the father still divided up his substance and his goods between his two sons. Oh it is worth thinking about when reading this passage of Scripture how this father seemed willing to give unto his younger son that which he had asked for, and did so knowing full well what he would have done with his portion of goods.

 

            With all of this being said there is something we must needs recognize concerning the father—something which is found at the beginning of the narrative, as well as something that is found towards the end of the narrative. If and as you read this particular parable which Jesus spoke you will find that there is a direct link and connection to the father when and as he let his son go, and when and as he saw his son returning. [As a side note, I can’t help but wonder if the father not only know what his son would have done with the portion of goods which fell to him, but also knew that there would come a day when the son would return. I can’t help but wonder if the father knew that his son would pack up everything he had and depart from his house, and that his son would take his journey into a far country. With this in mind I can’t help but think about whether or not the father knew within his heart and soul that regardless of the departure of his younger son, his younger son would eventually return home. Oh how truly astonishing and remarkable it is to consider how not only did the father know his son and what his son was capable of, but he also knew his son and knew that his son would indeed and would in fact return after departing for a certain period of time.] Within this parable there is something we must needs recognize and understand concerning the father and that is how not only did the father not rebuke the younger son for his request, and not only did the father not refuse his younger son’s request, but even when the younger son was packing up his things and prepared to depart, the father did not run after his son. THE FATHER DID NOT REBUKE HIS SON! THE FATHER DID NOT REFUSE HIS SON! THE FATHER DID NOT RUN AFTER HIS SON! It’s truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words in this passage and see how the father almost seemed willing to give his son what he asked for, and was even willing to let his son depart and leave. There is something about this father who didn’t rebuke his son for his request, who didn’t refuse his son his request, and who didn’t run after his son as he was departing.

 

            If I am truly willing to be honest with you who might be reading these words I feel it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to the fact that this younger son was always and would always be the son of this father, and how it was this very thought which might have enabled the father to not only give unto his son his portion of goods, but allow him to depart. I can’t help but think about the fact that the father might very well have known something that the younger son didn’t—even something the elder son and brother didn’t know or understand. Yes it was true that the younger son would always be his son according to biology, according to blood, and according to DNA, but there is something about being a son in relationship that far supersedes and far outweighs that. When this younger son packed up all his things, and when this younger son departed from the father’s house he would indeed and would in fact leave as a biological son by and according to blood and D.N.A, however, when the son would return he would return as a son born of relationship and fellowship. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for you might ask yourself and wonder how and even why the father could give unto his younger son his portion of goods, and even let him pack up everything and leave. I am absolutely and completely convinced the father was willing to allow this younger son to depart from that house and be away for however long was necessary, for the father knew that if and when his son returned and came home he would be and would become a son born again—and not born again of blood, but born again of relationship. There is something about being born again in relationship as a direct result of and through repentance and humility that transforms a son born of blood and a son born of water to a son born of relationship and fellowship. The father knew that this younger son would always be his son, and this father knew that this younger son was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, however, he also knew and understood something all the more greater—namely, that when his son returned he would return completely and utterly born again of relationship and fellowship.

 

            There is something that must needs be said about being born of blood and born of biology, genes and D.N.A, and there is something that needs to be said about being born of relationship and fellowship. This father was willing to allow his biological son to depart from his house because he knew, understood, and even believed within his heart that when his son returned he would return—not merely as a biological son, but as a relational son. It’s worth noting and pointing out when reading this particular parable that when the younger son came to himself there among the swine he not only purposed to return to his father’s house, but also purposed and resolved to return asking to be made a servant. The younger son left as a son and thought to return as a servant, and yet that which the father did when the son returned was restore him as a son. What’s more, is that I would dare say that when the younger son returned—rather than the father making him as one of his servants, he restored him as a son. Not only this, but I would dare say this father caused and allowed his younger son to be born again as a son of relationship and as a son of fellowship rather than being merely a son of biology and genes. The father allowed his biological son to depart, for he knew that when the time came for his son to return he would not return solely as a biological son, but he would return as a born again son. In fact, it is when the younger son returned the father made the emphatic and powerful declaration that his younger son was lost but had been found, and was dead, but was now alive. How absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the undeniable truth surrounding the younger son, and how the father was more than willing to allow his son to receive his portion of goods, and even depart from the father’s house and from the father’s presence. The father was willing to watch his son depart, for he knew and understood that if and when the moment came for his son to return his son would be a son forever. There was something within the heart of the father that knew that even though his son would depart from his house and would take his journey and leave, he would return as a faithful son who would be loyal and loving toward the father.

 

            Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—there is something truly remarkable and astonishing about this particular parable, for as much as we read about the father not rebuking his younger son for his request, nor even refusing his younger son his request, we also do not read how the father ran after his younger son as he saw him departing from his house. IT is important for us to recognize and understand this, for as surely and as much as we do not witness and behold the father running after the son as he was departing—that which we do indeed find is the father running toward the son when he saw him in the distance returning home. What’s more, is that regardless of how far the younger son had journeyed from the father’s house, he still knew where his father’s house was, and he still knew how to get to his father’s house. The younger son would indeed return to his father’s house, and when the father saw his younger son in the distance he would rise up from his place and would run toward him. Oh there is something absolutely wonderful and powerful when reading the words which are found in this portion of Scripture, for the words which we find here point to and suggest that the father was not willing to run after, but the father was willing to run toward. In all reality, I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs understand this in direct connection and relationship to the eternal and heavenly Father, for the eternal Father never runs after those children who demand their portion of goods, and those children who depart from the Father’s house and take their leave as they embark on a long journey and life of recklessness, carelessness, sin, iniquity and transgression. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand about the eternal Father—something which I am convinced Jesus was teaching in this particular parable—it’s that just as this earthly father did not rebuke the younger son for his request, nor refuse his younger son his request, not even run after the younger son when he was departing, so also does the heavenly Father not rebuke us for our requests, refuse us our requests, and even run after us when we depart.

 

            I fully realize there would be those among us reading these words who would point out the words of the ancient Hebrew prophets and their call unto the children of Israel concerning repentance and returning unto the LORD. There would be those who would argue and contend that the words and declarations of the prophets were the Father running after His children, and yet the truth of the matter is that when you read these words you must understand that the Father was not rising up early pleading with them not to depart. The Father raised up the ancient Hebrew prophets entreating them to return and to come back through repentance, through fasting, through sackcloth and humility. Even within the Old Testament you do not find the Father running after His children to keep them from running away and from departing from His house so to speak, but rather you find the Father calling them to return and to come home after they had already departed. IF you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find this ancient Hebrew prophet time and time again during the days of Josiah king of Judah calling on the people to return to the LORD their God, and to amend their ways and walk in steps of righteousness. Even the ancient Hebrew prophet Joel would call and invite the people of God return, to repent, and to turn their hearts once more unto the living and eternal God. What we must needs recognize and understand is that even in the garden of Eden the Father didn’t keep and prevent Adam and Eve from sinning and transgressing against the command which He had given unto Adam. Stop and think about the fact that the living and eternal God could have kept and could have prevented Adam and Eve from transgressing His command, and even from eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Instead of the Father keeping Adam and Eve from eating and partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we find Him allowing them the space and the place to make their own decision. Even when Adam and Eve made their decision and chose to transgress the command of the LORD by eating of the fruit of the tree which He commanded them not to we find the Father pursuing them. It would be immediately after Adam and Eve transgressed the command of the LORD that we read of the LORD walking in the garden during the cool of the day and calling out to Adam, thus pursuing Him and inviting Him back into fellowship and relationship with Him.

 

            The more I read the parable of the prodigal son the more I can’t help but think about the father and how the father did not resist nor restrain his younger son from departing from his house, nor did the father refuse his younger son his request for his portion of the goods. The father gave the son exactly what he asked for and even allowed the younger son to depart from his house without making any attempt to run after him. Oh this is something which must needs be acknowledged and understood within our hearts and minds, for there is not a doubt in my mind this father knew his son, and this father knew that although his son would depart from his house there would come a time when the son would indeed and would in fact return. What’s more, is that when you read this particular parable you will find that when the younger son did indeed return the father seemed and appeared to be ready and waiting there to receive him unto himself. When the father saw his younger son from a distance—not only did he run to him, but the father was also willing to receive him unto himself again, as well as restore him as a son. The son came back wanting to be nothing more than a servant in the house of his father, and yet the father was not only willing to receive him back as a son, but was also willing to restore him as a son. It’s truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading this parable and considering how the father did not, would not and perhaps even could not run after his son to try and keep him from departing. I can’t help but think about the fact that the father knew that if he tried resisting his son, he might have pushed his son away. What’s more, is I can’t help but think about the fact that this father knew and understood that if he tried running after his son as he was departing from his house he might have actually done more damage—perhaps irreparable damage—than good. I would dare say this father gave his younger son the space to take his goods, to depart into a far country, and even to live his life the way he wanted to, for he knew that if he gave the son space to fall and to fail—when he finally came to his senses and returned to him he would be a faithful and wise son.

 

            Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that the living and eternal Father has been willing to allow you to fall and even to fail because He knows and understands that when you fall and fail and after you have come to your senses you will return unto Him as a faithful and wise son? Have you ever stopped to think about and consider the fact that the living and eternal Father gives His children the space to make mistakes, and the space to fall and to fail because He knows and understands that when they come to themselves they can and will return unto Him as faithful sons and daughters who will be more than simply sons born of water, but sons and daughters born of relationship and fellowship. It is truly something worth thinking about when you read the parable of the prodigal son, for the parable of the prodigal son brings us face to face with a father who was not only willing to give unto his son what he asked for, but was also willing to allow his son the space to leave—even to fail, to fall and to make mistakes apart and away from his house. The father allowed this younger son to depart from his house because he knew that if he tried to force the son to remain he would have done more damage and harm than good. The father allowed his son to depart from the house because he knew and understood that if and when the time came for the son to return, that son would return as a faithful and wise son who would be a son born again of relationship and fellowship. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and reality, for it calls and draws our attention to what the living and eternal Father is like. There is not a doubt in my mind that the living and eternal Father is willing to allow us space to fall and space to fail, for He knows that when we return unto the Father’s house we will do so from an entirely different place than when we left. When the younger son left and departed from the father’s house the first time he did so with the mindset of “give me,” whereas when he returned to the father’s house the second time, he would do so with the mindset of “make me.” The son left the father’s house feeling entitled and owed that which his father would and should give him, however, when he would return to the father’s house he would return feeling he was owed absolutely nothing, and yet requested to be made like unto one of the servants which were present in that house.

 

            I absolutely love the words which are found within this particular portion of Scripture, for the words which are presented before us bring us face to face with the father who was not willing to run after the son when and as he was departing, however, when the father saw his son still a long way off in the distance, he ran to him. Oh there is something about the father running to his son, for in the act of him running toward his son to meet him and to come get him, there was the undeniable declaration of the father that he was willing to receive his son back. The father could have waited for the son to return to the house and could have scolded him, and could have reprimanded him, however, there is absolutely no indication of the father doing this. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth, for the very fact that the father ran to meet his son both speaks of his willing to go and get his son, as well as to receive his son. The father didn’t run after his son to keep him from leaving, and the only time the father ever did run was when he saw his son returning home in the distance. The only time the father ran was when he ran toward his son to welcome him back, and to go and get him. The father wasn’t willing to wait until the son came unto the house, but rather the father desired to run out and to run after the son that he might go and get him. What’s more, is that with this particular action—when the younger son returned to the house, he did not return alone and by himself, but he returned with his father. Perhaps the younger son returned in the arms of his father as his father embraced him the whole entire way from where he met him to the house. It’s truly something to think about the fact that the father could have waited until the son made his way to the house, and the father could have allowed his son to come unto the house alone. The truth of the matter, however, is that the father was not willing to allow his son to come unto the house alone, nor was the father willing to allow the younger son to enter into the house alone. The father instead was willing to and desired the younger son to return unto and enter into the house together with him rather than alone and by himself.

 

            THE FATHER MEETS YOU WHERE YOU’RE RETURNING AND RETURNS THE REST OF THE WAY WITH YOU! THE FATHER MEETS YOU WHERE YOU’RE COMING BACK, AND WALKS WITH YOU REST OF THE WAY! How absolutely incredible and beautiful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding this father didn’t merely wait for his son to make his way to the house, and the father didn’t make his son come to the house and even prove or demonstrate his sincerity, repentance, humility, and the like. The father saw his son from a distance and rose up from his place and ran unto his son, and in the process of running toward his son—not only did he run toward his son to go and get him, but he also ran toward his son to bring him back into and unto the house. There is something absolutely remarkable and astonishing about the father running toward and running to meet the son, for when the son would return into and unto the house he would not do so alone, nor would he even do so as an outsider, but as a servant. Oh I absolutely love the fact that the father wasn’t willing to allow his son to return unto the house alone, nor was the father willing to allow his son to enter into the house by himself. Oh there was and there is something about the younger son returning unto the house of the father with the father himself that speaks tremendous volumes. Imagine what would and quite possibly even could have been said about the son had he returned unto the father’s house by himself dressed as he was dressed and looking like he undoubtedly looked. With the son returning unto the father’s house together with the father it spoke of, suggested and signified that the father had embraced his son—and not only embrace his son, but had also forgiven his son. The father returning unto the house together with his son demonstrated the father’s tremendous willingness to receive and restore this son unto himself once more. The father was not willing to allow the son to return unto the house alone and by himself, for doing so might have brought about the sneers, the jeers, the murmuring, the gossip and the accusations for and toward the son.

 

            If there is one thing I absolutely love about this parable it’s that with the father returning unto the house together with his son he was effectively and single handedly silencing any critics or skeptics within the house. There is something truly remarkable and truly powerful about the father being willing to run toward his son, for this act of running toward his son not only spoke of his running to get his son, but also his willingness to receive his son once more. The father running toward his son suggested and spoke to the tremendous truth surrounding him being willing to receive his son unto himself once more, as well as his willingness to restore his son into his rightful place once more. The father heard the son’s request to be made like a servant, and yet the father knew that the role, the function, the place and the purpose of this son was not as a servant, but as a son. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to see and picture the father and his younger son walking arm in arm together toward the house. What an incredibly powerful sign of forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration this truly is as the father was not willing to allow hi son to return unto and enter into the house alone and by himself. The father returning unto the house together with his son spoke of and suggested the awesome and wonderful truth that the father had received him, that he had forgiven him, and that he still loved him. Oh I absolutely love the fact that not only did the father run toward the son, but the father also had compassion on him, fell upon his neck, and kissed him. Not only this, but when the father and son returned to the house together he immediately called for a robe to be put on him, called for a ring to be put on his hand, and for shoes to be put on him. Not only this, but the father called for the fatted calf to be slaughtered and for a great feast to be made to rejoice in his son’s return home. Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to this, for the father running to his son spoke of his willingness to receive him once more, while the father’s clothing his son and throwing the feast spoke of his willingness to restore him. It was the act of running that signified and spoke of the father receiving his son once more, and it is the act of clothing the son and throwing a feast that spoke of restoring the son unto himself as his son once more.

 

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the fact that the father did not run after the son to keep him from leaving and thus doing more damage than good, however, the father did run toward the son when he saw him in the distance returning home. The father’s act of running toward the son is a powerful demonstration of his willingness to receive his son—and not only receive him, but also his willingness to go and get his son. The father would embrace his son away from the house while the son was perhaps a still long ways off, and the reconciliation which would take place between and with them would take place right where the father met the son. When the father and the son began walking back and returning to the house they would not only return reconciled, but they would also return together having been restored in fellowship and relationship. Oh it is truly something remarkable and worth recognizing that when the father and the son returned to the house they would return fully and completely restored and reconciled with each other, and this son would no longer be a son based on blood, biology, genes and DNA, but this son would be one born again in relationship and fellowship. We must needs recognize and understand this particular reality for it helps us understand how and why the father could give unto the younger son what he asked for, as well as allow the son to leave without resisting him, without rebuking him, and without running after him. The father knew that if he allowed his son to depart in this manner he would depart solely as a biological son based solely on genes and DNA, and there might never have been any chance or opportunity for this younger son to truly step and enter into the place of being a son based on relationship, fellowship, reconciliation and restoration. The father was willing to allow the younger son to depart, for he knew and understood that if and when the son returned unto him and unto his house he would not only be reconciled and restored, but he would be a faithful son living in the place of relationship and fellowship rather than biology, genes, DNA and even inheritance. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that when the younger son left and departed he would do so based on inheritance, and when he would return he would return based on relationship and fellowship having at the very heart and center of it reconciliation and restoration. Oh that would truly recognize and understand this particular reality and how absolutely captivating the father’s response to the son was—not only in letting him go, but also in returning—and how it is a beautiful picture of our heavenly Father who not only allows us the space to fail and to fall, but is also willing to receive, reconcile and restore us unto Himself as sons and daughters based on fellowship and relationship who are wise and faithful before Him in the earth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s