Pristine Grace

The Prodigal
Luke 15:11-32
by Jim Byrd
The Prodigal

     The prodigal son acted as a fool and revealed he was an ungrateful wretch. He demanded to receive his inheritance early so his father granted the request, dividing the heritage between his two sons (v. 12). It didn’t take long for the unwise young man to waste all his money on life’s fleshly pleasures which, though they gave temporary happiness, rendered no lasting joy to his heart (v. 13). Having spent all, he now found himself in the midst of a famine, starving for food (v. 14). God has His ways of drying up every avenue of dependence. In desperation, the prodigal went to work feed- ing pigs, even desiring to eat with them (vv. 15-16). In his time of despair and at the end of his rope,he began to think about his father’s servants who fared much better than he did (v. 17). They werefed, he was hungry; they were happy, he was miserable; they had a warm bed to sleep in, he slept with the pigs! It was then that he purposed to go home; he even prepared a heart-felt speech of repentance (v. 18). He would plead with his father to receive him back, not as a son, but as a hired servant.

     I wonder how the young man felt as he got closer to the house and saw his father running to meet him. Surely his heart was riddled with guilt and regret; ashamed and embarrassed over his foolish actions, he knew his own sinfulness distanced him from the father making him unworthy to even be called a son. I suspect he assumed he faced a severe reprimand and punishment or maybe even total rejection. He knew that whatever he got by way of retribution, he certainly deserved it, but he would go as a MERCY-BEGGAR.

     To his utter amazement, the Father embraced him in love (v. 20). And before he could finish reciting his speech of repentance, the Father commanded THE BEST ROBE to be given the young man, the righteousness of Christ. The Father called for the RING of Sonship for his hand, indicating love without beginning or end. The Father also demanded SHOES for his feet for he will stand steadfast and immovable in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 22). And the fatted calf was killed and eaten; Christ has died, the Just for the unjust to bring us to God. This young man will feed with all the children of God on the blessed Savior, receiving Him by faith as our all in all (v. 23). And what a time of joy and celebration followed! “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” (v. 24).

     Is there a prodigal reading these words? God has made you aware of your spiritual foolishness and ill-treatment of the Lord? You’ve been unthankful and wasted your life on carnal pleasures which you have found can bring your soul no lasting joy. You’ve ignored the glories of Christ and the necessity of worshiping Him. May the Lord enable you to do as this young man did. “I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and beforethee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of the hired servants” (v. 18). When the Holy Spirit draws you home, you will find a gracious God that has ordained your salvation and has even used your own foolishness to bring you to the end of yourself. My friend, if God were not more willing to show mercy than any of us are ready to receive it, none would be saved. Come home to God. The way to the Father is very clearly set forth. Christ said, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE; NO MAN COMETH TO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME” (John 14:6).