“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.’”
– Luke 15:20-22
Today, we’re going to resume the discussion of the story of the prodigal son that we began yesterday. After his dad prematurely gave his younger son his share of the inheritance, the boy took off and ran as far away from his father’s household as he possibly could. Throwing himself completely into a debauched lifestyle, he squandered all he had on alcohol, prostitutes, and partying, only to find himself alone and destitute. Now a prince in rags, he was dirty, starving and had nothing to his name. So bad was his plight that he had given himself to the job of feeding pigs! In Jewish culture, pigs were the lowest of any animal and they were often used synonymously with sin and hell. However, at that point, even the pigs were eating better than he was and he wanted just a bite of their food!
Knowing that he had made a huge mistake, the young man wrestled with himself and finally decided that he was going to go home to his father, who he hoped would take him on as a hired hand. With his failure at the forefront of his mind, he rehearsed over and over again as he traveled what he would say to his dad when he got there. Little did he know, however, that his forlorn father would be looking for him. How must he have felt that night, when to his astonishment, his dad saw a figure off in the distance, and once he recognized that it was his long-lost boy, the Bible says he didn’t walk or jog, but rather ran out to meet his son (and wearing a long gown, that must have been quite a sight)! Just as his “black sheep” began giving a repentant speech, his father swept him up, hugged him, put shoes on his feet, a robe on his back, and a ring on his finger! Wow!
Friend, when you have messed up royally and are ready to earn your way back to your Heavenly Father, he embraces you instead with extravagant love and overwhelming grace. You are his beloved son or daughter and He is waiting on the portals for you to come home, ready to show you your purpose and to reveal the adventure that will unfold when you entrust your soul to Him. The goodness of God means that there is no mess he can’t restore, nor is there any sin or failure that can keep you from His loving arms. Not only will He take you back, but He will give you more than you had before! Isn’t that wonderful news?
Jesus, I am overwhelmed when I consider that you welcome me home with open arms, no matter how great my failure. Teach me to extend your extravagant grace to others just as you extended it to me.
When have you received God’s extravagant grace? How did it change you?