Luke 15: 17-20

17“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20So he got up and went to his father.
      “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…”

I was reading Luke yesterday morning in Yuma, and something about the preceding passage struck me.  Not so much the son’s apparent repentance–to me that smacked of forced contrition, not true remorse.  He’s broke, and hungry, and has nowhere else to go.   He’s just relating what he’s going to do, not baring his heart, or even seeking forgiveness.  He came to his senses, it says, but that’s all.  Could have just been talking about finding a meal at that point.

What impacted me most was the father.

His grace toward the son.

The passage mentions that he sees his son when he was still a long way off, so he had to be outside looking for him.  Scanning the horizon.  Desperate to see his son return.




Not seeing.

It does not say how long he looked for his son.  Only that:

 “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…”

It kind of makes you think about the shepherd looking for his ONE lost sheep, rather than writing it off because he still has 99.  He will pursue the lost one, and he will be filled with Joy when he makes it back home with that one sheep across his shoulders.

That’s the same Joy God feels when we return to the fold.

How he felt when, like the prodigal, I came to my senses. 

He felt joy.  And scripture also tells us that angels rejoice.

But look again at the father’s reaction upon seeing his son.

“his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him…”

He did not stand waiting with his arms crossed, brow furrowed with displeasure.  He did not grudgingly accept a tentative and awkward apology.

He was filled with compassion for his son, and he ran to him.

He ran.

He ran, probably forgoing all semblance of dignity. 

He ran, robes flying, probably with arms extended.  Running across the field to his lost son.

He ran, and he was filled with compassion.

He ran, and when he got to him at last, he threw his arms around him, and kissed him.

No condemnation, no judgement.

Just love.

And he threw him a party, killed the fatted calf. 

Yesterday, I read that passage and I thought about Jesus scanning the horizon for me, desperate to see me.  I thought of him running toward me with his arms outstretched, running across a field to get to me.  He’d been waiting for me all the time I’d been holding out, waiting for me to come to him.  Waiting for me to come burdened, and afraid, and encumbered by the world.

Me, in my dirty robes.

Me, dirty and starving, dripping with sin and unrepentance.

Me, covered in the filth of my journey home.


And there was rejoicing in heaven.

Author: twilk68

God has changed my life, and changed me. It's that simple. I will ever be grateful, and if I live to be...well, OLD, I will never tire of telling people about the work done in my life, and what can be done in theirs, should they trust God with their innermost everything...

2 thoughts on “Luke 15: 17-20”

  1. Weird…Chris and I were talking about this recently – in regards to something going on in his family, as well as his own story. Talking about how his father reacts to “bad news”, and thinks he is showing “compassion” to his sons by saying “you can talk to me, don’t assume I think what you think I do.”
    I was brought back to this – that in this case, when the son sought out the father, the father RAN to his son and held him tight. The son was NOT necessarily “perfect” or even repentant…but he knew he needed help, and he was making the first steps. Did the father hold back and say “well, you let me know when you want to talk?” NO. HE CHASED HIS SON. Like God does for us.
    If we waited until we were “healed” and “perfected” before we sought God…we would never get there. I don’t know how you can repent and be cleansed without God’s help. How do you really know, really GET what you need to be cleansed of, without God in the mess with you?
    And is it wrong to expect the same of our earthly fathers? That when we admit we need help, or just love…that they would just hold us tight and say “I love you no matter what.” That they would seek us out the way God does.

  2. makes me think of the 97 seconds with God post from last week, or whenever that was…

    for me, sometimes I just want someone to come running across a field to me. You know? I will always be ragged and unperfect. Always. And I will always have this need to feel…parented, for want of a better expression (I missed out on a lot of that). Anyway, every time I take that to God, He comes through….I get to be “child.” It’s pretty awesome….

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