“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
( Luke 15:21)
The younger brother squandered his entire inheritance. Left with nothing – broken, alone and penniless – he ‘came to his senses’ and recognised the enormity of his sin. He determined to go back to his father to confess. He would ask not for forgiveness and restoration but the chance to repay all that he had lost. This he could only do if his father took him on as a hired servant.
His reception would have astounded him and left him speechless and bewildered. Instead of a stern and forbidding master he met a father who threw his dignity to the winds when he saw him. He ran to meet his son, flung his arms around him and covered him with kisses. Instead of listening to his carefully prepared and rehearsed confession his father gave instructions to the watching servants. Instead of being sent off in rags to the servant’s quarters he was clothed in his father’s best robe, a ring of authority was placed on his finger and sandals of privilege on his feet. Instead of the shame of meeting the community and facing their criticism he found himself the centre his father’s ecstatic celebration – which conveyed to one and all his forgiveness and re-instatement as his father’s beloved son.
Having realised the enormity of his sin in rejecting his father and causing him such pain, hurt and embarrassment he could only wonder at ‘how wide and long and high and deep’ was the father’s love for him. Having lost all that the world had given him he had gained instead a spiritual understanding and wealth beyond his wildest dreams.
This, says Jesus, is what awaits us when we turn back to God and place ourselves in His hands again. More love than we could imagine and more delight in God’s heart than we could conceive.
So I come Lord Jesus – dare I turn away.
Father, forgive me for lingering outside Your door, trying to have a foot in both worlds and to keep control of my life. Please help me to come home fully to You and allow You to love me, guide me and bless me. Amen.