TOPIC:“The Forgiving Father”
“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)
In today's message I want to introduce you to a beautiful picture of a God-honoring father. He was a concerned father. He was a compassionate father. He was a forgiving father. And he was a father with high moral convictions. The method this father used in dealing with his sons needs to be communicated to all fathers today.
All of us, I am sure, in reading the Bible have come across the parable of the prodigal son as told by our Lord to the scribes and Pharisees. Richard Trench, in his book, Notes On The Parables, calls it “the pearl and crown of all the parables of Scripture.” Now I for one believe him, and believe him so convincingly, that I can't resist the impulse to preach upon it. To me this is the jewel of all the parables of the Bible. It is the most tender and touching story ever to come from the lips of our Lord.
Have you ever stopped to consider that on the most part, this parable has more to do with a loving father than with a lost son. The word "father" is mentioned twelve times in this chapter, while the word "son" is only referred to nine times. At this point lay hold of the words of the great Bible expositor, G. C. Morgan, who wrote: “By referring to this as a parable of the prodigal son we lay emphasis on the wrong point, the wrong word, at the wrong place. The true emphasis is not on the boy, but on the father. It is an unveiling of the heart of God, and in all that it is intended to teach there is no more remarkable or beautiful passage in the Scriptures of truth. It is a revelation of the infinite grace and tenderness of the Father's heart.”
It is the picture of the hunting God, seeking and searching lost mankind with the message of forgiving love. Notice the stress that is put upon the father who represents God in this parable. It is not so much the prodigal requesting, retreating, repenting, and returning, as it is the father with arms wide open running to forgive him. For let us not forget that it was the father who welcomed him back. It was the father who listened to his confession. It was the father who in mercy forgave and pardoned. It was the father who in love put a robe on his back and a ring on his finger . . .