“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 15.22
The reaction of the father to his wayward son in this well-known parable is amazing. He didn’t simply welcome him back as a labourer, or accept him back with a warning that he had one last chance, but showered him with an abundance of gifts – far more than his elder brother felt he deserved! He really was left in no doubt that he was honoured and cherished.
It is easy to look at some people and not be remotely surprised that God would want to shower them with blessings and favour because they appear to be such saintly people or such good examples of a godly life. It is quite another matter to think of God wanting to pour out such blessings upon you, particularly as you are probably all too aware of your weaknesses and failings. Perhaps it is all a matter of vision? We can easily get consumed with our own failings and imperfections and naturally assume that God sees us in the same light. However, this picture of the father’s abundant generosity is quite different. His whole vision was focussed on someone else and he was consumed with love for his son. If this was a true story, then doubtless a slightly uncomfortable conversation might take place between the two men, but this would certainly be for later and not at the point of celebration.
You stand before your Father who loves you with the same love he had for Jesus (John 17.26). Catch the wonder of this truth: your father rejoices over you with singing and if he had a literal robe right now he would wrap it around you.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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