Welcome Home to the God of Many Chances

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20 NIV).

Continuing the theme of CG discussed this past Sunday’s sermon about the adulterer woman who received forgiveness and grace from Jesus, another story that comes to mind is one of the most memorable and heart-touching stories of grace and forgiveness recorded in Luke 15. It’s what we’ve come to know as the Story of the Prodigal Son. This young man demanded his inheritance while his father was still alive, spent it all on riotous living, and found himself dirty, destitute, and despairing. As despicable as pigs were to Jews, this young man took a job taking care of pigs and eating their food to stay alive. But then he had an epiphany.

“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.’ So he got up and went to his father” (Luke 15:17-20).

And where was his father? He was scanning the horizon, hoping for a sign that his boy might return home. Don’t let the depth of that sentence pass you by. The father was SCANNING the horizon. Looking. Waiting. Praying.

It is often assumed that God is sitting on his throne, dispassionately waiting for us to come crawling back to him. However, that is not the picture that Jesus paints. In reality, our heavenly father is constantly searching for us, pacing and expecting us to return to him. This is how much he loves us; there is nothing passive about God waiting for us.
The father spotted his son from a distance while “he was still a long way off.” The father then ran towards his son, smothering him with kisses and welcoming him home. This happened even before the son had the chance to come to his father, beg for forgiveness, and grovel at his feet.

Remember, not everyone was happy when the prodigal son returned. His big brother resented the fact that he got another chance. And you know what? There will be those who resent the fact that we also get another chance. Your family, friends, and church brothers and sisters may forgive you for your mistakes and accept you back, but they may expect you to feel guilty and ashamed. However, when you regain your dignity and feel liberated enough to praise God with your head held high, some people may disapprove of your pride. Those who cannot celebrate with you are still deluding themselves into believing that they have done something right to earn their Father’s love.

I say, let them be appalled. Nothing makes some people angrier than grace. Big brother is invited to the party too, and it’s his decision whether or not he wants to join the celebration. I’m just glad he’s not the one in charge.

Jesus told this story to a group of Pharisees while others were also listening. The typical question about this story is, “Are you the prodigal son or the big brother?” However, I want to focus on something else today. Jesus loved both the prodigal and the big brother, the sinner and the Pharisee, and you and me. He looks for all to come, and when we decide to come and confess our sins, God receives us with open arms. There is no judgment, only grace. God removes our guilt and fills our lives with goodness. Then God says, “Let’s the party and dance with grace!”

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for never giving up on me. Whether I’m acting like the wayward prodigal or the judgmental big brother, I know that You love me and long for me to take my place in Your loving arms. Father, I’m home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Written by Rev. Kay Dubuisson





no tags