The undignified love of the Father
Turn in your bibles to Luke 15:11-3215
Verse 12The prodigal comes and ask the Father to divide his estate.
- This was basically the equivalent of saying “ I wish you were dead.”
- This was a completely outrages request and an insult to the father.
- Upon receiving such a request it would have been customary for the father to beat his son or perhaps cut him off from the family or any potential inheritance.
- If we choose to turn our back on God and His ways he will not prevent us from doing that.
- I also see people blame God for their difficulties even though they are the ones who went their own way.
- So the father in Jesus’ parable doesn’t respond according to the customs of the day would have thought.
- The request of the prodigal would have gotten the audiences’ attention and made them mad but the response of the father would have really gotten their attention and made them confused.
Verse 13 the verse implies that the prodigal sold the land to raise cash before heading off.
- This would have only further insulted the father. Land was supposed to stay in families for generations and even if a father did divide his land among his sons, he would have continued to have the right to use that land.
also the “squandering of wealth and wild living” was the equivalent of throwing your money to the wind and now doing this in a gentile country was another huge insult to the father.
- It was one thing to squander the family wealth but to take it to a gentile county and throw it to the wind was the worst of possible offenses.
Verse 15 This adds yet another insult to the father.
Verse 20 The father sees him while he is still a long way off and has compassion on him.
- The son surely must have wondered what the response of his father would be; I can just imagine what was going through his mind.
- “The scene is striking since even today, a distinguished Middle Eastern patriarch in robes does not run, but always walks in a slow dignified manner. Running was viewed as humiliating and degrading. The man’s unrestrained joy and affection – even to the point humiliation before others – reveals God’s overwhelming love and grace for the lost sinner and the joy experienced when a person repents.”
- Now you have to remember that the prodigal had done numerous things that would have been seen as unforgivable in the culture of the day.
- The expression “threw his arms around him” in the NIV literally means “he fell upon his neck.”
- The KJ V and the ASV use this wording.
- The word for kiss here refers to the tender kiss of affection.
- This whole parable would have been confusing to Jesus’ audience much more so than the last two stories in Luke of the lost sheep and the lost coin.
- But this is really the whole point of all three of these parables, Jesus is trying to explain the mercy of the Father.
Verse 21 The son blurts out his apology and repents.
Verse 22 “These items represent full reinstatement into the family. The best robe was probably the father’s own, since the patriarch had the finest robe in the house. For the robe was a symbol of honor and royal authority. There may also be end times significance since glorified believers are said to receive white robes in Rev 6:11; 7:9,13. The ring may be a signet ring indicating membership and authority in the family (Gen 41:42; Est 3:10; 8:2) Sandals distinguished sons from servants.”
- The same word for robe stole is used in Mark 16:5 speaking of the garment of an angel.
- The picture here is one of total restoration into the family and the Father’s house.
- Now keep in mind how much shame and ridicule the son had brought to the Father. The Father now returns to favor and brings shame and ridicule on himself.
- We see a hint or foreshadowing of what Christ does for us in this parable when the Father takes on the son’s uncleanness and dresses him in a new robe.
- No self-respecting person of this time period would go to such great lengths to welcome back a wayward child. This Father would have been mocked and ridiculed by the other people in the village if this were a real event.
- The Father is so crazy about us and so jazzed to have us back that he doesn’t care what other people think. His identity is greater than any shame Humans can put on Him.
- Here is the thing that we need to take away from this, our circumstances even our sin and uncleanness can’t change or limit the the way God loves us.
- The prodigal had a lot going on that could have limited the Father’s love, but none I fit did. The father still expressed his love in a way that made him undignified.
- We might not see ourselves as prodigals but we must see the undignified love of the father in this passage.
- Thus is also a theme from the Old testament.
- Zephaniah3:17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice (dance) over you with joyful songs.”
- The Hebrew word, ‘rejoice,’ means to “spin around under violent emotion.” The phrase “rejoice over you” literally means to “dance, skip, leap, and spin in joy.” God does this over you!!!
- When bad stuff happens to us, it’s not because the father doesn’t love us, it’s because this side of heaven we will have troubles. Our circumstances cannot shape how we see or view the father’s love.
Verse 23-26’ “A fattened calf was selected and fed for a special occasion such as a wedding feast (or religious holidays like the day atonement).” Some have even suggested that since a calf was chosen over a goat or sheep indicates that Jesus intended a feast that would have involved the whole village not just the family.
- Both the killing of a special fattened calf and the time it would take to prepare all of this shows again how Father is willing to go to welcome someone home.
Verse 24 The son here has come back to life, you could literally say that he has been resurrected.
- Notice that when the son was living life his way, he was dead. As you move away from God and do your own thing you actually enter a type of death but when you turn back to God you are resurrected