Read: Luke 15:11-24

During the age when Jesus delivered this parable, people — especially men — didn’t run. According to pastor and author Rich Wilkerson Jr., the thought process during this time was that if you were running towards something or someone, it meant that thing or person was more important than you. Additionally, to run successfully, you had to roll up your tunic so you wouldn’t trip over it. The problem with this is that men were not to show their legs in public because that was believed to be shameful during this time.

Yet we see the son squander his inheritance, trash his father’s name, and humiliate himself and his entire family. Even still, the father is eagerly awaiting the return of his son. Seeing his son in the distance, he rolls up his tunic, exposes his legs, takes up his shame, and runs after the son who rejected him. What a picture of our relationship with the Father.

The Father saw you in the distance, rebelling, running, living in the darkness. God saw you before you ever saw him. He knew you before you were even knit in your mother’s womb. He knew all that you would do, and yet he chose you. He didn’t choose you and wait for you to run to him. He chose you and waited for you to turn to him so he could then run to you.

The prodigal son realized there was much more value in being in the presence of his father than any monetary resources he could ever provide. He saws that money was just a temporary satisfaction. He longed to be with his father, his rock, his anchor. When you dig down into your faith in Christ, you realize there is much more satisfaction from sitting in the presence of God than any earthly blessing he brings your way. Money is great. Good health is great. Healthy relationships are great. But without the presence of God in your life, you will never be content.

Take a few moments to meditate on this thought: God, if your presence goes, I don’t want to stay. If your presence stays, I don’t want to go. I need you.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How does the story of the prodigal son reflect your own experience of repentance and forgiveness?
  2. What aspects of the Father’s love and forgiveness resonate most with you?
  3. How can you share the message of God’s love and forgiveness with others?