The parable of the lost son. The story is so familiar to us, I think, that we tend to pass right over it. But, wow, it so beautifully portrays the love of a father for a son, the love of our Father to his children. It’s good to slow down a bit and just think about the story. There’s this son, who receives half of his father’s considerable estate. He squanders it all, quickly, on foolishness. In a time of famine, he becomes so hungry that he would eat the food of the pigs. But he cannot find anyone who will share even a little pig food with him! He finds himself dying of hunger while there is an abundance in his father’s house.
He went to his father, intending to confess and ask if he might just be with the hired hands. The father, though, even before he ever hears any word of confession, sees any sorrow, or notes any humility and brokenness on the part of his son, runs to his son. It’s almost as if, whether the son’s attitude has changed or not, the father still loves him and will go out after him. It’s only after the father has wept and thrown his arms around his son’s neck and kissed him that the son confesses and repents. Oh, how great this father’s love! And how great our Father’s love for us!
And then, there’s the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus. Nine of them were healed and said nothing to Jesus. The tenth, though, was a hated Samaritan. But he returned to Jesus and “fell facedown at His feet, thanking him” (17:16). Everyday, we should think about God’s great love to us and thank him! What grace and mercy he has shown us! How great the Father’s love to us!
The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never.
I nothing lack if I am his,
and he is mine forever.
Where streams of living water flow,
my ransomed soul he leadeth;
and where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth. -- H. W. Baker (1868)