The Prodigal Father
This parable, commonly labeled the Parable of the Prodigal Son, parallels the story of mankind, with a few differences. In this parable, there is a father who has two sons; one – the younger son – who takes his inheritance and squanders it; and the second – the older son – who remains behind and complains when the younger son returns. True, the younger son lives a life of wild living and debauchery – a prodigal lifestyle in every way, which is not to be celebrated. However, what about his return? Should not both older son and father celebrate that?
And what about the father? As I continue to reflect on this parable, it is not the prodigal lifestyle of the son that impresses me, but the prodigal behaviors of the father. Does he not also live a lifestyle that is prodigal in its own right? Let’s examine the parable and find out.
The Dramatis Personae
In this parable, the father represents Yahweh as the father of all mankind. The younger son represents all mankind after the fall of Adam. The older son represents the individual who doesn’t even know he already has everything he needs, and becomes a whining, unloving individual who refuses to celebrate when the younger son is redeemed – the unbeliever.
The Inheritance Given
Luke 15:11-12 – “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So the man divided his property between them.”
The parable begins with the father giving the younger son his inheritance. This parallels Yahweh giving Adam dominion over the earth, though Adam neither requested it nor demanded it, as did the younger son.
The Inheritance Squandered
Luke 15:13-16 – “A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything.”
Adam, and mankind, in essence has squandered the inheritance. Instead of living rightly, he chose to disobey and so does all of mankind. Paul tells us there is not one righteous person, no not one (Romans 3:23, 5:12). Mankind continues to squander all that Yahweh has given, lusting after money, drugs, sex, and a billion other worldly desires that seem so wonderful to our senses. Mankind will “eat” anything, even the food of pigs to satisfy those inner needs and wants!
The Act Of Repentance
Luke 15:17-19 – “But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands”.’
At some point in each individual’s life, many will see their situation for what it really is, understand that they have squandered their inheritance, and have nothing whatsoever to offer Yahweh in return for simply being able to live in his home – even as just the lowliest of servants. How sad that many must come literally to the end of themselves before they reach this point and turn back in penitence. How utterly sad that many others, even recognizing their destitute situation, will not turn back but will choose to spend eternity without the love and provision of their heavenly father!
Seeking The Father
Luke 15:20-21 – “So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son’.”
The father in this parable runs to his son – not one iota of hesitance. In like manner, Yeshua came to mankind with open arms, willing to take us back, without hesitation (Philippians 2:6-8). Mankind not only refused his offer, but crucified him. And yet, he still waits for us to seek him – all an person has to do is search for him and knock on the door (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9). Even Yeshua stands at the door and knocks – he is seeking us, too – and will come to anyone if they simply open the door to their heart (Revelation 3:20)!
Luke 15:22-14 – “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.”
Not only does the father in this parable run to his son, he completely restores him.
- The robe represents the covering of Yeshua’s blood that imputes righteousness to the redeemed individual (Isaiah 61:10). It also signifies the new immortal, incorruptible body one is given at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:42-54).
- The ring signifies authority. A signet-ring, with the arms of the family, represents the person wearing it as being the ambassador of the father. The individual has been given the authority of the father. Redeemed individuals are the ambassadors of Yahweh / Yeshua (Colossians 3:17).
- The sandals symbolizes the adoption back into Yahweh’s family as a son or daughter. Once redeemed, an individual is no longer a slave, but becomes a son or daughter (Romans 8:15-23, Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5). And the restoration of the inheritance once squandered is fully restored (Galatians 3:29).
- The celebration represents the awesome celebration that occurs every time an individual is restored (Luke 15:10).
The father is prodigal in his blessings, both before and after restoration. Yahweh gave mankind everything he made – they squandered it. He waits with anticipation for the day when each individual repents and returns – then he runs to meet them without any hesitation whatsoever. He restores them fully, not in part. He gave mankind Yeshua, his best, to make the way for this restoration. His grace and provision are prodigious! Truly a prodigal father.
One repentance has been made, the individual then has only one desire – to return to Yahweh. Thus begins the journey to salvation and restoration. The restoration won’t be meager, it will be full, and the celebration will be prodigious, too.
Will you accept his offer, or will you refuse. Accept – eternal life. Refuse – eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. The choice is yours. Choose wisely!