The son COMES TO HIS SENSES and remembers his father and his father’s goodness and love…the one who even provides plenty for his servants. The son is convicted and brought to repentance. His pride, self-sufficiency, and independence are broken. He will humble himself before his father asking for forgiveness and permission to live with Him by serving Him. The father sees his son coming and runs to meet him with open arms declaring, “This is my son!”. On his son, he puts the royal robe of righteousness, the family ring of authority and provision, and good sandals to walk over hard trails which will enable the son to work with Him.
Usually, we see this story as a teaching about our salvation due to the Father’s love and His ultimate gift of Jesus who is our righteousness, our authority, our provision, our walk and service. We call it the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”. But from another perspective, we could also call this the “PARABLE OF THE FATHER’S LOVE”.
The son asks for early inheritance of his father’s kingdom. Knowing the son will leave his house and go into the world of dangers…the father recognizes that the son is of age for freedom of choice and gives the son’s request. The father’s heart grieves as the son separates from his presence and moves towards the world. The son has chosen to leave. It feels like betrayal…but the father understands the enticement and deception of the world and the foolishness of his inexperienced son. The father still loves his son. He remains faithful and day after day he watches diligently for the return of his son. The deep longing in his heart is burdensome. He is grieved to weeping at the long separation. His love is unfulfilled. His arms desire to embrace his son. Yet even in his suffering, his hope never fades or gives up. He has a robe, ring, sandals, and a fattened calf for celebration, just waiting for the return of his beloved son. He loves him forever and always no matter what.
At his son’s return, his great love gushes out with grace and mercy and forgiveness. It is intimate relationship that the father desires, not servitude. It is an abiding with, in continual presence, and not distanced or separated. That is the love our Heavenly Father offers us.