THE FATHER'S LOVE

© 2004 by Jerry L. Croasmun

Read -- Luke 15:11-32

"'Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate."
-- Luke 15:23-24 (NIV)

The youngest son did not realize how good he had it before leaving his father's home. He had to experience the filth and smells of the pig pen before he came to his senses. In Luke 15:17-20 we read, "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 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 men.'"

I am sure the father prayed daily for his lost son as he watched for him to return home. Likewise, in Romans 8:34 we read that Jesus is sitting at the right-hand of the Father interceding on our behalf. In Hebrews 7:25 we also read, "Therefore He [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." The Spirit Himself also intercedes for us according to Romans 8:26-27.

When the youngest son decided to leave His Father's home, the father did not chase after him trying to "fix" or change things. Rather, he patiently waited and watched for his son to safely return home. God also often leaves us in situations we ourselves have created. He has given us the freedom to choose between Him and the things of this world. (See I John 2:15-17).

In Luke 15:20-21 we read, "So he got up and went to his father. But while he [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he [the father] 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.'" The wayward son said he was no longer worthy to be called a son, but the father knew otherwise.

Verse 20 describes five things the father did to express his love for his son. First, he had been watching for the son's return and saw the son. Second, he was filled with compassion for the son; he still loved his son. Third, the father physically ran towards the son; thus, reaching out to him in love. Fourth, the father threw his arms around the son and hugged him. And fifth, the father welcomed the son home; embracing the son with a kiss.

The Father, in verses 22 to 24, continued to demonstrate his love for his lost son. "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate."

The father called for the lost son to be clothed in the best robe, ring, and sandals. Likewise, we are children of the King. God, Our Father desires to clothe us with the righteousness of Jesus. We can also wear our Father's signet ring proudly signifying our royal authority. As a ring is circular and continuous without an end, so is our Heavenly Father's continuous and everlasting love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. (See Romans 8:38-39). There is nothing we can do to change how much He loves us. Even when we walk away from Him; He still loves us. We are members of God's family and are joint-heirs with Christ.

In Romans 8:14-17 we read, "Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs [joint-heirs] with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory."

We, like the youngest son, were lost and living in a world of sin before we came to Christ. This world is not our home, but ours is a heavenly one where the Father is waiting to embrace us with His love. The choice is ours. Will we decide to repent and turn from our wicked ways and return home to the love of the Father? Or will we choose the pig pens of this world?

HOME--A PLACE OF LOVE

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