There is a beautiful painting that hangs in my parent’s home. It’s a picture of me. Let me describe the framed artwork.
A young man kneels before his father. The father graciously, lovingly, embraces his son. The son weeps in pain while the father weeps for joy. It is a single moment of reunion and restoration powerfully captured on canvass.
The inscription below the artwork reads, “The Prodigal.”
The Parable of “The Prodigal” is found in Luke 15. In it, Jesus tells my story. I’m the prodigal.
Jesus described the young man as arrogant, selfish, self-centered, self-serving. That’s me. With a rebellious heart, the boy rejected his father’s love, and left the safety and security of home in exchange for greedy and gluttonous ambition.
Have you ever turned your back on your Faithful Father and gone in search of something else?
At the end of his journey, the young man discovered that the grass on the other side is not so green. He remembered that his daddy was not a tyrant... not at all. He remembered home and turned back.
At the same time, Jesus says, the father was always waiting, always watching, always ready to greet his beloved son. Seeing the son on the farthest horizon, the daddy raced to greet his child.
That’s the moment memorialized on the wall. The son repents. The father forgives. Restoration! Reunion! Revival.
Oh, the son didn’t deserve it. In fact, the son knew he wasn’t worthy. Listen in on their conversation.
“ ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:21-24, ESV)
I’m not worthy. That’s why it’s so easy to see myself in the picture.
But even though I wandered away, the Father hasn’t disowned me. I’m forever His son. Even when I fail, the Father is gracious and forgiving. Each time, He welcomes me home. He restores me. He loves me.
He wraps me up in the robe of righteousness. He gives me this own authority, entrusting me with his signet ring. He gives me new shoes, commissioning me to do his business. He loves me, and celebrates!
Look closely at the picture!