The Prodigal’s Return

The Prodigal’s Return

Those who come to the Father by faith, in repentance, will receive all the kisses of God. He gives us the kiss of a new heart and a new spirit. Our hearts of stone are turned to hearts of flesh by the grace of God. We are kissed with strong assurance. Though the prodigal may have intense fears of walking away again, we see that the father is not apprehensive that the son will disgrace his mercy and forgiveness. For the Father knows that of those who are His, He will not lose one of them.

But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. – Luke 15:20

The kiss of the father in the parable of the prodigal son is full of meaning. The prodigal has returned home, but only after forsaking his father and laying waste to his inheritance. Living comfortably in his father’s house, the son wells up with pride and renounces his father’s authority. He requests his estate and leaves. Filling his life with evil, he takes harlots as his companions, feeds his lusts, and squanders his father’s precious gifts. Oh’ but the child of God is never outside their Father’s providence, and famine hits the land. The prodigal’s hopes are soon dashed upon the rocks of vanity and sin, and he finds himself in bondage.

He is joined to a citizen of that country where he is required to feed pigs. In this state, the lords of this country offer him nothing but to eat and sleep in the pig stalls. For a Jewish man to live with pigs is but another image of his descent into spiritual impurity. Sin brings temporary satisfaction but piles on long-lasting burdens, impossible to remove. The prodigal is in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction and delusion, but the grace of God is far-reaching, and the prodigal comes to himself and says, “It would be better to be a slave in my father’s house than to live here.” What a shame it is that many never come to themselves and never feel the burden of sin on their back, and what a pity many who do feel it never venture to go home. They die in their despair, seeking some way to have the burden removed. They sink ever slowly into the “slough of despond.” What a shame many have even taken their own lives in this despair.

In his unworthy state, covered in the stains and wounds of the foreign land, the prodigal walks slowly home, crestfallen, seeking only servitude in the house of his father. However, he is not even worthy of that, for dishonoring your father and mother is a crime worthy of death under the law.

When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion. Our Father’s eyes are ever on us, even when we cannot see Him. When our heads hang low, dejected from our sin, He looks and has compassion: even when our pain is self-inflicted. The prodigal’s father then ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Before the son could say a word, the father had placed his lips upon his son. He did not wait until the filth was washed away. Nor was he concerned with any of the scoffings that the community might bring.

Oh, the kiss of the Father says so much. Charles Spurgeon, in his sermon on this parable, highlights what this kiss shows us. Here are a few of his points. The kiss shows much love for the son. There has been no loss of love in the heart of the father. No uncertainty in the love for his child has occurred due to his son’s crimes. The kiss demonstrates complete forgiveness, as it speaks of absolution. The debt the son incurred has been forgotten, and the burden of sin and guilt is gone. In the kisses of God, we see full restoration. The son is as much a son as he had ever been; the thoughts of servitude in his father’s house are to be rejected. No more food fit for swine, nor clothes fit for prisoners. There shall be a feast fit for royalty, a new robe is to be placed upon him, and a ring to signify to the world that he is part of his father’s family. The son has complete restoration, and all this happens before the son can speak his confession, which he has undoubtedly been rehearsing.

There is a beauty in true humility, for it does not flow from our natural self. It is the direct result of the working of the Spirit of God.

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