“Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.” (Isaiah 30:18 NKJV).
When the tax collectors and sinners drew near to the Lord Jesus to hear Him, the legalistic and self-righteous Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2 NKJV).
But, the Lord Jesus responded to their complaint with some parables to reveal that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7 NKJV).
One of the parables Jesus gave was that which is traditionally referred to as “the Parable of the Prodigal Son.” However, a deeper look into the parable will reveal that that prodigal son has a gracious father who had and demonstrated an extravagant love towards him when he was unworthy or undeserving of his love.
Therefore, let us consider the extravagant father of the prodigal son who is indeed the true hero in the parable.
The parable is about a certain man who had two sons. In response to the passionate request of the younger son for his own share of their father’s property, the father divided to the two sons his wealth or property. Afterwards, the younger son journeyed to a far country and there wasted and squandered his possessions in loose, riotous or prodigal living.
At the climax of his suffering, the prodigal son came to his senses and reasoned thus: “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! ‘I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, “and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”‘ (Luke 15:17-19 NKJV).
In any culture it is outrageous and improper for a child to request for his share of his father’s property while the father is still alive, hale and hearty. The prodigal son’s request for his portion of his father’s wealth while his father was still alive clearly portrayed him as unloving, greedy and self-centred.
Without any doubt, the rude, outrageous and improper request of this greedy son brought pain and sorrow to his father. Surprisingly, the father granted the outrageous request of his greedy and selfish son.
What a gracious father with an extravagant love!
Eventually, the prodigal son returned home with nothing but shame and sorrow, having wasted all that his father gave him with riotous living. But, while he was still a great way off from home, his father saw him and had compassion on him, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
What a warm, tender and affectionate welcome for an undeserving, unloving, callous, greedy and prodigal son!
Not only was the prodigal son welcomed back home warmly or heartily by his father, he was also fully restored to his former exalted position of honour and authority in the family, and a big party was thrown to celebrate his safe return home.
The undeserving prodigal son was undoubtedly lavished with an extravagant love!
The father commanded his servants, saying, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. ‘And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; ‘for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:22-24 NKJV).
What a gracious father with an extravagant love!
Did the prodigal son deserve such a warm, tender and affectionate welcome and reception from his father? Not at all!
Did he deserve to have the best robe put on him, the ring put on his hand and sandals put on his feet after wasting his father’s wealth in prodigal living? Not at all!
Did he deserve to be celebrated and restored to his exalted position at his return? Not at all!
Although the prodigal son pleaded to be received and treated like one of his father’s hired servants, yet his father received and treated him, not as a servant, but as a son he loved dearly.
What an incredible and amazing father!
What an extravagant love!
What an amazing grace!
This parable undoubtedly gives us a glimpse of the extravagant love of God towards us. God lavished us with love when we were sinners – unloving, undeserving, callous, rebellious and self-centered.
None of us deserved to be loved when God demonstrated His extravagant love towards us by sending His Son Jesus Christ to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins on the cross so that we might be redeemed and receive the adoption as sons and thus become an heir of God through Christ (Gal. 4:4-7).
The Scripture testifies:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8 NKJV).
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10 NKJV).
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1 NKJV).
Beloved, God’s love for you is never based on your performance, righteousness, or good works. Therefore, God’s love for you is ever constant, unchanging and unflunctuating.
As illustrated by the Lord Jesus with the parable of the prodigal son, God does not love you less if or when you sin, fail, or stray from Him. Similarly, your sins don’t change your status as a son of God. The born-again believers don’t become sinners if or when they sin; they remain God’s sons. Why?
Because we were adopted as sons into God’s family not based on our performance, self righteousness or good works, but based on our faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption on the cross.
Your sonship with God is a gift, not a reward for keeping God’s laws (Rom. 8:15-16; 4:1-5)!
The Scripture clearly states in Galatians 4:
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (NKJV).
Like the prodigal son who erroneously thought that his mistakes or sinful actions had changed his status as a son with his father and exhausted his father’s love for him, many born-again believers today are being held back by wrong beliefs from returning to God as His beloved sons to claim, receive, experience and enjoy God’s best after they have sinned, erred or strayed from the right path.
Like the gracious father of the prodigal son, God is always waiting and looking forward to be gracious to his prodigal children or backsliders who repent and return to Him, to lavish them with extravagant love, to give them a warm, tender and affectionate welcome or reception, and to fully restore to them all His blessings they have squandered in prodigal living.
The Scripture states: “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18 NKJV).
Friend, what are you still waiting for? Arise now, like the prodigal son, repent and return humbly and wholeheartedly to your gracious heavenly Father who loves you with an extravagant love.
God is waiting to be gracious to you, to restore you, and to lavish you with great love and mercy. Let nothing hold or keep you back, arise and return home today!
The Scripture assures: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isa. 55:7 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I return humbly and wholeheartedly to You today like the prodigal son. Thank You for welcoming me back home warmly and lavishing me with great love and mercy, and for restoring me fully, in Jesus’ name. Amen.