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Four Verses in Luke 15

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I do hope you’re familiar with the story dubbed “The Prodigal Son” from Luke 15:11-32. If not, go ahead, click on the reference and take a few moments to read it. If you’ve read it before, it won’t hurt to renew the story in your heart, so go ahead and click on the reference.

Back already? What did verses 18 and 20 tell you? It speaks to me that nothing was accomplish in verse 18 except a decision made. It took the action in verse 20 to accomplish the decision. Look at them again:

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, (Luke 15:18 KJV)

He was living in the vilest of conditions imaginable. Eating leftover food fed to an animal his people were told not to eat. Now he was no better that the pigs from whom he stole food. Servants in his father’s home were much better off than he was. Even though he counted his father’s words as less than nothing, he was ready to go home and admit how wrong he was. He could have stayed sitting there until he died. Instead:

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 KJV)

Action. Once the decision was made, the son got up and went home. He didn’t send a letter to see whether or not he was welcome. He had only the memory of his father’s character, nothing to indicate how his father would receive him. He simple got up and went to his father. He was welcomed with love. He knew his father accepted him, but he completed his decision with action:

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:21 KJV)

Consider, too, the man who told this story. It is a parable – illustrations Jesus gave to show us what cannot be described in reality. Jesus made several factual statements in the Bible to give wider meaning to this simple parable – He knew God loved the world enough to give Himself in order for whosoever to make the decision, to return to the Lord who made him.

The Bible tells us in several places that we are God’s children. Jesus said to pray, “Our father . . .” The apostles wrote of that in their letters to the new congregation of believers as the word spread. Christians believe that is doctrinally true. We also believe our lives are just as lost as the prodigal’s, until he returned home and completed the decision he made in the pig pen:

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:21 KJV)

He confessed to his father how wrong he was. Please note, that was after his father welcomed him home. The father’s love was unchanged, but his joy was greater when the son was home. Thee father’s love was unchanged, even when the son confessed.

If this father’s love was so great, how much more is God’s for His children?

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