Daily Word of Grace # 89 (July 17, 2020)
In a particularly high octane gospel parable, the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), Jesus recounts the story of a wealthy man who had two sons: the dutiful firstborn and his slacker younger brother. In a moment of unimaginable selfishness the younger son asks his father for his part of the inheritance now, the equivalent of telling his father he wished he were dead. And yet the father gives him his share of the inheritance with no questions asked, no catch, no disclaimers. The younger son goes to a foreign land and “squandered his property in dissolute living,” wasted every cent on his selfish pleasures. The younger brother becomes so desperate he takes a job feeding pigs, which is as low as it gets for a privileged Jewish son who would have never even been allowed to eat pork. At the turning point of the story the younger brother “came to himself” and decided to return home and tell his father his prepared speech, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” And yet “while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion ; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.” After the younger son gave his prepared speech, his father showed unbelievable grace and began giving orders to throw a party to end all parties because his lost son was finally safely back home. At the party the father gave his son a robe which was typically given to the guest of honor, a ring which symbolized his authority, and sandals which was a sign of sonship (only children wore sandals; servants did not). In the same way the father had given his younger son his share of the inheritance in the first place with no questions asked, no catch, no disclaimers, he gave him grace and welcome and full restoration as his beloved son. That amazing grace mirrors the grace God offers all of us who likewise have selfishly squandered what God has given us “on dissolute living” because the same compassion that motivated the heart of the father toward his prodigal son still motivates the heart of God toward us (Matthew 9:36).
Love and Prayers,