“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”
Luke 15:20, NLT
The actions of the prodigal are worth considering. At a specific moment of time he stood up, looked around, and then decided to return home. But he is no longer a ‘rich man’s son’, the pig-pen crushed that idea. Truly, the devastated prodigal still has a small spark left– his set belief in his father, and it is that which gives him propulsion to go home.
The trip is a long one, lots of walking, and it’s hard, but then, he is seen! Please understand, the love of God is a searching/seeking kind of l,ove. It simply will not shut down, or go away over time. It is never shut-off. It is a 24/7/365 kind of love.
Think of it like high intensity radar that sweeps over extreme distances, it is always seeking, and it won’t be denied. The Father is always seeking for His sons and daughters. He intends to find them, at last. You can think of it in another way. It’s like having a warrant for your arrest, (in a good way.) It will never expire, and it will find you. You will always be a ‘wanted’ man, or woman. Always!
The compassion of the Father is an aggressive and reaching kind of mercy.
He reaches out and penetrates through a whole lot of sin. But as I read this, and think, there seems to be a lot momentum coming from the Father. He is far from passive, or ‘ho-hum’ toward His son. He is fully into reclaiming His lost sons and daughters.
The Father recognizes His prodigal son. Gross sin has a way that disfigures a person’s countenance. Look at the wino or meth addict on the street. The boy who abruptly left home is not the son who returns. There has been damage done. His face has changed. The Father understands this, and yes, it has been terribly hard and brutal.
The Father shows a delightful compassion for His son. We see Him running. He drives Himself to chase down the Prodigal. He could have easily step back and just waited for the Prodigal to prove himself. But we see a ‘running love’. He has a real ‘running love’ for His son, and that is worth considering.
Notice dear “broken believer,” that all the actions are the Fathers. The Father is doing everything. He runs at the Prodigal, He embraces him and He kisses him. We see a Father that will do anything for His prodigal son. On the other hand, the prodigal brings nothing but himself. He simply receives from his Father.
This parable is the greatest of all. It show’s the deep love the Father has for prodigals like us. It gives us the reality of the spiritual in the physical.
It very well could be that the Church will falter and be confused over the presence of the prodigal at the door. When we see love like the Fathers, lavished on silly fools, we can grow skeptical. If the Church can keep pace, and accept the actions of the Father toward ‘prodigals’ of all backgrounds, we will be doing His will in the world.