Luke 15:11-32The parable of the prodigal son is one we have all heard throughout the years. The message that comes out of this story most times is that the prodigal son realizes his mistake and is repented of his sin, and therefore was restored in his relationship with his father. But, did you ever wonder what would happen if his father wasn't waiting for him as he made those last steps home? Since I don't think fathers get enough credit sometimes, I thought I would talk about a father that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention in the Bible. We don't know much about this father, but it is the father's joy at the return of his son that I would like to think about.
I read through this parable a number of times, and I got a strong and definite feeling that even though this father loved his son enough to let go, he never stopped praying for his sons return. He could have said, "That spoiled brat took my money and left, now he is on his own." But that is not what we see. Instead, we see a father waiting and preparing for his son's return as he waits for the Holy Spirit to work in his son's life. I think as fathers, the first lesson we can get from this parable is we need to "be there." This father never gave up, he used patience, he was able and willing to wait on the Lord. This can only happen if this father has a relationship with God. You need to have that relationship with Christ that enables you to trust Him, not only eternally, but daily as well.
Another thing that I got from this parable was how filled the father was with compassion, his mercy was like the mercy God has shown to us. Can you imagine having your temper and need for payback in such control that all you show is mercy and compassion? There are so many people in the world that have never heard the words I love you or you are forgiven. How will your children remember you the most? It seems to me that as a compassionate and caring father is a good start.
Finally, this text shows me that not only did the father forgive the son, but he showed that with a response. He put his arms around him and kissed him. Wow !!! Do you think the son knew he was forgiven? I bet he did, and the party that came next made it complete. This father left no question about the love and forgiveness he had for his son. I would like to think that a hug given at the right time is better than a new I-Pad or Kendall every time. I see many fathers today try and buy their children's affection, when all that is needed is a little verbal or even physical affirmation such as a hug. Think about the significance that puts on the fact that one of the last things Jesus did before going to the cross was to wash His disciple's feet. I think this was one of Jesus' ways of showing the disciples that they were forgiven, His hug. His example to us on how we should forgive others. I don't know about you, but as a father, beyond getting a new tie, or just being seen by my child as a provider, I would like to think that I was as Godly a father as the prodigal father. I want my child to love me, and to know that I will always "Be there"........Amen.