BRING ON THE PARTY!
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
The father called out to his servants to bring the best robe, a ring and sandals for his darling son. He ordered a feast with the fattened calf and the party music to be turned on. His son was home and he wanted to celebrate it!
Wow! Astonishing, isn’t it? Let me decode that for you.
The father was responding to his son’s confession through those few statements.
Best robe – The best robe generally belonged to the most honored person in the house. In this case it belonged to the father. He was telling his son that ‘You say that you have sinned against me. But when you are bathed and cleaned this robe will cover you’. It symbolizes the cleansing of our sins by the Father God. He not only cleanses us but also covers us with His cloak of righteousness.
Ring – A ring is a sign of authority. When he wore the ring it would imply that he is the son of the house and that he could transact business. We have the stamp of approval as God’s sons and daughters on our lives when we become His children.
Sandals – Servants generally didn’t wear sandals. Only family members would wear them. Here the father wanted his son to know that he would never be a servant. He was the son of the family and he would wear sandals. God has called us not to be servants but to be his sons.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
Meanwhile the older son came home and saw a full-fledged party going on. Bewildered, he enquired what was happening. On hearing what had happened, he becomes enraged.
He somehow believed that his ‘goodness’ of meekly staying by his father had earned him a standing and favor in front of his father. Now, he seethed with anger at seeing his insolent brother return home and be welcomed so graciously.
What a pitiful picture it paints. The mask was quickly coming off his face. With one statement, his carefully constructed image was stripped and we see a man who was uncharitable unkind, proud and self-righteous.
Somewhere along the way, the elder brother had misunderstood his father’s love for him.
EARNING & LOSING GOD’S LOVE?
The elder son had assumed that he earned his father’s love by his ‘good behavior’.
The younger son thought that he’d lost his father’s love by his ‘wasteful behavior’.
But the father loved them both irrespective of what they did or didn’t do. He loved them from the very beginning, even before he gave them his wealth.
Our God loves us too similarly. He loved us even before the foundations of the world were established. He loves us even when we walk away from Him. He loves us when we walk with Him. He will love us till the end of age. Because of His love for us, He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). In gratitude, we obediently follow His Commandments.
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them
Jesus’ audience included the sinful tax collectors and the self righteous Pharisees. He looked at them and said:-
Those who are lost can be forgiven
Those who think they are not lost are perhaps lost
No matter who you are (the sinner or the Pharisee) God loves you both
No matter what our past is or how far we have strayed, God loves us. We can always come back. We will be welcomed with open and loving arms.