Welcome Home, Welcome Home: Past Forgiven, Future as a Member of the Family Secure

Posted: March 30, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke

Luke 15:11-32 — For the past two days we have visited this passage and looked at from the view of the prodigal son and from the view of the elder brother. Today, as we visit this passage one last time, we look at this passage from the view of the father. There are several things that we must notice about the father. First, he breaks with tradition and gives his son his inheritance now instead of after his death. Second, we must note that the father had been watching for his son and that he came running when he saw him. Third, he put his robe and a signet ring on his son we they met. Finally, the father puts on a feast for his son.

First, we see that the father gave his son his inheritance while he was still alive. This act was pretty unusual even for our day. Most children do not get their inheritance, if any, from their parents until their parents are dead and gone. It was even more highly unusual in first century Palestine. The listeners of Jesus while he was relating this parable would have been one of shock at such a thing. However, the point here is that God lavishes us with His love even when we have not done anything to deserve it. God loves us even we rebel against Him. We want what we want and we want it now. That is our cry. The youngest son was being completely self-centered here but yet the father loved him anyway. He loves us even when He knows that we are going to reject all that He stands for. God loves even those who reject Him. He lavishes His love upon us even when He knows that we are going to wander. He loves those who completely reject Him and believe in themselves, religions that have no basis in Him, you name it. He loves us when we turned out back on him and go to the far off lands of our desires. He gave us His Son for us on the cross even when we are sinning and flicking our finger at God. He loves us anyway. He has lavished us with His most precious gift while we are living. We are given the gift of eternal life while we are yet living when we reject sin and accept Jesus as Our Savior. The gift has been given even when we reject it. The gift has been given even when we do not deserve it.

Second, we see that the father in the story is watching and waiting. You might expect in this story of a wayward son that he would have had to come to the gate of the home and beg to be seen by the father before the father would have even recognized that the son was coming. However, in this story we see that the father was looking to the horizon for his son. He must have been doing this constantly. We see in the story that the son is seen by his father while he was yet still a long way off. When he saw him and recognized that it was son, he went running after him. The point here is that God is a pursuing God. He has been pursuing us since the first sin was committed in the Garden. In Genesis 3:9, after the first sin, God calls out in the Garden to Adam, “where are you?”. God knew exactly where Adam was but He wanted Adam to know that He was, indeed, pursuing Him. God pursued Israel through the centuries giving them every chance to come to Him through the work of the prophets. God pursues us through His Son Jesus Christ. God entered into human history to pursue us in the flesh as the Son. God is watching and waiting for each of us to find our way home through Jesus Christ. He keeps His eyes on the horizon. He is watching and waiting for each of us to come home. He comes running when He sees us. He is ready for you to come home. Just come home. His love for you is far greater than anything that you have ever done to display your reckless rejection of Him.

Third, even though there was probably evidence of the filth of his son, the father asks for the finest robe to be placed upon his son. He also asks that a signet ring be brought and put on his finger. His son is probably filthy and dirty and doesn’t deserve any of this respect. Let’s not forget the significance of the ring. A signet ring was used by the wealthy and by kings to make an impression on documents or on wax that sealed scrolls together. The ring would have the seal of the family or kingly line on it. When documents or seals had the impression of the seal on them, it gave authenticity to the document. It verified that it was from the wealthy landowner or king that sent it. Thus, we have two things here that Jesus is trying to impress upon us. First, that we are clothed in His righteousness, the finest robe, when we come home to Him. Even though we are but filthy rags in the presence of the Father, we are clothed in the pure, sinless righteousness of the Son when we accept Jesus as our Savior. We by ourselves are but sinful creatures filled with the filth of sin. But through Jesus we are given a fine robe to cover us. We are still sinners and filthy underneath but we are covered by the cloak of righteousness that we do not deserve but are given in love. The Father sees Jesus when He sees us once we accept Him as our Savior. He no longer sees the filthy rags of wild living, of our self-seeking squandering of the gifts He has given us. He sees the robe beautiful and pure. The second thing is that when we come home to Him, God puts the ring on our finger. We are now a member of the family. We have all the rights and privileges accorded to a royal family member. We do not have do anything, serve an penance, or earn our way to a certain status to payback for the things we have done in our past. We are immediately given membership in the royal court. No back row seat. We are front in center. We are made whole. We are made clean. We are made equal to all those who have accepted Christ as our Savior. That is the glory of being a Christ follower, regardless of who you are, where you come from, or what you have done in your past we are given full and rightful places in the royal family of our Savior. So, if you are a new Christian, you have the same standing in the Father’s family as someone who has been a Christian for 40-50 years and we are glad you are here. We are glad you are a part of the family. We want to put you to work in the kingdom immediately based on the talents God gave you. You do not have to sit on the sidelines and wait til you are considered first string material. You can get on the playing field now, right now. You are His child. A newborn child is just as much a member of a family as is the oldest child!

Finally, we notice that the father in the parable is so happy that his son has returned home that he puts on a feast in his honor. Jesus is telling us that all of heaven including our Heavenly Father celebrates when one of His children accepts Christ as their Savior and returns home. There is no condemnation for things done in the past. There is celebration. I think of my own children in this moment. We as parents love our children so much that we love them despite their mistakes and their rebellions. We celebrate their wins more than we dwell on their failures. Just think of your child. Don’t you forgive those times that are bad just to get to the good stuff. Those moments that your child makes your heart burst with loving pride that they made the right choices and did the right things. You see these things not as hey I caused that to happen but rather because you love your child and it warms your soul to see them growing up! God has that love for us. He celebrates our wins and forgives our failures when we finally grow up! We finally grow up when we recognize our need for a Savior and come home to Him. He celebrates! He is sooooo happy. My child has come home. He was dead and now He is alive. He was lost but now He is found. Think of how you feel when you have lost your child for more than a minute in a department store. You are frantic. But you are so overjoyed and filled with happiness when you find your lost child. The celebration in your heart in not containable. At that moment, you are not thinking of what goofy thing your child did to get lost from you, you are just glad they are back in your sight and in your arms. God feels that way about us!

Come home, the Father is waiting. Come home. He has a fine robe of Jesus’ righteous to clothe you in. Come home. He has a signet ring for you to show you that you are a full member of Christ’s royal family. Come home. There is a celebration waiting for you as the Father is just so overjoyed to have you home. There is no condemnation here. You are welcomed to the seat of honor. You are a full-fledged member of the family. You are His child. No hoops to jump through. No earning you way to some base level of acceptance. You are fully accepted. You are hugged and loved on and we are just glad that you are home. The Father is most glad of all! My child who once was lost is now home! Do you want to come home? Just cry out to Jesus! Ask Him to come into your heart and be your Savior and have the Holy Spirit change you from the inside out? Come home. Come home!

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