The Loving Father
“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Luke 15:31
We often refer to the third and final parable in Luke 15 as “The Prodigal Son,” (Luke 15:11-32) but a better title might be “The Loving Father.” The father, symbolic of our Heavenly Father, is the true hero of the story. While both of his sons have their own issues they have to work through, the loving father is there to provide exactly what they both need, just as our Father provides exactly what you need.
The Loving Father provides continual blessing, (Luke 15:31). The parable begins with the younger son demanding his share of his inheritance before heading out on his own. After squandering everything and returning home with nothing, his father not only receives him with compassion, he also throws a great feast to celebrate his return. The older son gets upset when he finds out what is going on. Petulantly, he asks his father why he never received such a celebration. In his prideful bitterness, the older son disregards the fact that he has always been the recipient of his father’s blessings. His father’s blessings have been available the entire time, yet the older son has grown insensitive to his father’s goodness.
In the same way, you have “all sufficiency in all things” (2 Corinthians 9:8) through your Heavenly Father. He is always there for you, just as the father was there for both of his sons, (Luke 15:20 & 31). You always have the avenue of prayer, access to the peace of God, and the hope of salvation. You may not have all you want, but you do have all you need.
The Loving Father also allows you to exercise your free will, (Luke 15:12). The younger son was allowed to make his own choices. Love is not tyrannical. While the father allowed his younger son to make his own choices, he did not enable his son to continue in sin. He did not chase after him, and he did not send more money to continue to support his lifestyle. No, he allowed him to experience the consequences of his actions. He let his son feed pigs, (Luke 15:15-16).
God allows you the same opportunity to exercise your free will. He makes it very clear there is a difference between right and wrong, and there are consequences for your actions, but he does not take the wrong choice off the table. God wants you to love Him and to desire to live with Him, but He will not force you to have a relationship with Him. He wants you to want Him. You do not choose God because He is the only option, you choose God because He is the best option.
Finally, the Loving Father offers true forgiveness, (Luke 15:21-22). Once the younger son repents and confesses his sins, forgiveness is immediate! The father never even brings it up! Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy to confess to people, (as demonstrated by the older brother), because people are not as forgiving as God.
Of course, complete forgiveness is offered to you by your Heavenly Father as well. When you repent of your sins, all is forgiven. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,” (Isaiah 1:18) No matter how far you’ve fallen, when you are ready to return, your loving, Heavenly Father is ready to receive you back.
Let us not treat our Heavenly Father the way the two sons treated their father in Luke 15. They were self-reliant, unsympathetic, entitled, and overall just ungrateful. Thankfully the younger son repented of his ingratitude. You can show your gratitude by choosing to walk with the Lord, and by doing everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” (Colossians 3:17). We are so blessed to have such a loving Father.