The Parable of the Loving Father 

Devotional for Today, January 21, 2020

“…But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him… (Luke 15:20 NIV)

Everyone knows the parable of the prodigal son, who wasted his inheritance in wild living and, when he hit rock bottom, returned to his father’s house remorseful and ashamed.  This story could very well have been called the parable of the loving father.  The narrative indicates that, while the returning son was still a long way off, his father saw him.  Why did he see him from far away?  Because he was looking for him!  That’s what a loving, compassionate father does!

Another interesting point in our story is that the father wasn't judgmental with the son upon his return.  He didn't say, “I told you so.” Instead, he ran toward the boy.  Imagine the prodigal’s face when his father threw his arms around him and kissed him, weeping over him.  The son had been prepared for some harsh discipline from his father.  After all, his share of the inheritance was all gone—an inheritance, by the way, that the younger son had brazenly asked for before he was supposed to receive it, with no regard for the blood, sweat and tears the father had invested in order to provide for his family after he was gone.  The son himself confessed what he had done yet there was not one word of recrimination from the father.  Instead, he asked the servants to put on the young man the best robe and sandals, and the ring that speaks of the authority of the family name being restored to the young man who was undeserving of it.  The prodigal did feel unworthy, but all the father wanted him to do was to come back home and to partake in the celebration of his homecoming.

Like the loving father in the story of the prodigal son, our heavenly Father is also watching and waiting for someone who has turned away to come back home.  Contrary to the desires of the religious establishment of Jesus’ day, and in many places even today, we see from our story that God doesn't want to punish; he wants to save!   While there are people who put up a wall even after saying they forgive you, Jesus is not that way.  When Jesus forgives, he also forgets the wrong we've done, because he died to pay for that wrong!  If you or a loved one needs to come home today, don’t hesitate and don’t be afraid.  The arms of a loving Father await you!

Read Luke 15:11-24.

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