The Berean Expositor
Volume 33 - Page 114 of 253
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The Father's Compassion (Luke 15: 20).
pp. 127, 128
If the Son of God came to reveal the Father, and if this parable is a part of that
revelation, what a light it throws upon the Father's heart!
"And when he was yet a great way off."--The seeking sinner need but make the
slightest movement toward God, to find God going out to him. Had the Father chosen to
stand upon his dignity and say, "My son took it upon himself to leave home; let him
come back; let him knock at the door; let him taste a little salutary discipline; let him
wait my pleasure", he would but have acted as many a human father has acted to such a
son. But here it was the Father that "ran", not the returning prodigal. Because of remorse
and shame, it was the son's footsteps that lagged; the Father's steps were quickened by
love. Even when he was a great way off "his Father saw him". Is it too much to say that
the Father had been watching daily in the hope of that precious sight?
"He had compassion", or, as the words literally, "His bowels yearned" over him.--
Not one word of reproof or rebuke. No censure, no condemnation, but unutterable love
and inexpressible joy over the returning prodigal.
By the witness of the self-same Scriptures we know that a sacrifice was needed to
justify the forgiveness of the sinner. That cannot be introduced into this parable, but it is
given its place in perfect fullness in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, where it
can be introduced without incongruity. The Father needs no sacrifice to make Him love
this erring son; rather it is His love that provides the sacrifice.
"He kissed him."--This is reconciliation and acceptance.  As the poor prodigal
retraced his steps he had been repeating to himself the confession, "I will say unto him".
Even as his father kissed him the words are heard, but he was not allowed to complete his
confession. Before he could reach the words, "Make me as one of thy hired servants",
the father broke in upon him and said,
"Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on
his feet; and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry."
If such be the reception of one seen "afar off", what excuse will a man have in that
day who remains unsaved, unaccepted, unforgiven?  He is not compelled to crawl
abjectly to the throne of God, as well he might; he has but to turn his heart toward the
Father to find the Father Himself seeking him.