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Monday, May 27, 2024

The Lavish Love of the Father


When I tell someone I love their heart, I am telling them I see the love of Jesus in them. How wonderful it is when the Father tells you He loves your heart! He tells you He sees His Son in you and has lavished everything He has on you. 


In Luke 15:11-31, the unrestrained love of our heavenly Father is shown to us in the parable of the prodigal son.  One definition of the adjective “prodigal” is “wastefully or recklessly extravagant.” Another definition is “giving and yielding profusely” or “being lavishly abundant.”


After wasting his life by throwing away his father’s wealth so freely bestowed on him, the prodigal son woke up to his disgusting state. He didn’t wake up to what he had done to his father. His concern was for himself and that he had nothing to eat but swine’s slop. He remembered the servants were well-fed at his father’s estate, so he decided to face his shame and headed home. He rehearsed what he would say to his father. 


“I will arise and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants’” (Luke 15:18-19).


The word “son” in this prepared speech to his father is the Greek word “huios,” which is defined as “having the same nature as the father” and “possessing a legal right to the father’s inheritance.” The prodigal son was planning to tell his father that he didn’t deserve to be his son and have a right to his inheritance. He was saying that he deserved to be treated as a slave. 


The father had always watched for his son to come home. When he saw him approaching, he ran to him and “fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).  With as much unrestraint as the son had wasted his father’s wealth, the father now lavished the son abundantly with compassion. The father profusely gave His love and yielded his heart unconditionally.


The Greek word for “fell” in this verse is “epipipto,” which means to be “embraced with affection.”  The same Greek word is used in Acts 10:44 when the Holy Spirit “fell” on those who had come to Cornelius’ house to hear Peter preach. The Holy Spirit affectionately embraced those who received the message of salvation. The Holy Spirit fell on them and loved them. In just the same way, the father rushed to fall upon and embrace his returning son. The son attempted to give his rehearsed speech, but the father refused to hear it. He told the servants to bring his best robe and put it on his son, to put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet.


The robe the father had the servants put his son on symbolizes Jesus’ robe of righteousness, which He freely gave to us as children of God. He has presented us without fault to the Father, who is now our Father. We have right standing and peace with our gracious and loving Father. We can come to Him without guilt or shame.


The ring the father told the servants to put on the son’s hand was a signet ring. The ring sealed the son as his own and certified that the son, who had been lost and was now found, was still the father’s son with a legal right to all he owned.  


The sandals that were put on his feet indicated the son was not a slave but a son who had the right to come into his father’s presence. 


God had commanded Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. In Moses’ time, a servant removed his sandals in the presence of his master, and a worshipper removed his sandals in the presence of God. By commanding Moses to take off his sandals in His presence, God made it clear to Moses that a chasm separated him from God’s holiness. 


What a great exchange Jesus has made for us! He took the sin that separated us from God and gave us the gift of righteousness. He destroyed the chasm standing between our humanity and God’s holiness. Jesus became God’s holiness in us. Like the prodigal son who came home and received his father’s unconditional love, we can approach our heavenly Father receiving His unconditional love. We can come to Him without fear, guilt, or shame at any time, for any reason.


The father joyously called for the fatted calf to be prepared to celebrate his son’s return. That calf was to be killed right in front of them where they all could see. This reminds us of the Lamb of God slain in plain sight. It reminds us that Jesus lavished His love on us and endured the cross for the joy set before Him. 


You can be saved and not have grown spiritually to have the revelation knowledge of the Father’s love for you. You may believe things in your life make Him not love and care for you. But your Father loves you because He is your Father and not because of anything you do or have done. He loves you because Jesus paid the price you had no way to pay.


Like the prodigal son, have you rehearsed what you will say to the Father? Perhaps you have planned what to say to Him to feel His love or make yourself feel better in His presence. The son came home because of his selfishness and not because of a truly repentant heart. But the father lavished his love on him, and the love of his father overcame the shame of his heart. He hungrily received his father’s love. In the same way, God’s love draws us to Him and overcomes the sin and shame that cannot remain in His presence. You receive all of the Father's love.


You are no longer a slave. You are God's son. Your loving Father doesn’t care what you plan to say to him. He doesn’t care about your explanation. He is SO GLAD you are there with Him. He has clothed you in the robe of His Son’s righteousness. He has put His signet ring on your finger, certifying and declaring that you are His child with full rights to your inheritance. He has put sandals on your feet to let you know nothing hinders you from coming freely, boldly, and without hesitation into His presence.




Holy Spirit, pour your love upon your child. Lavish him, Jesus, with your grace. Embrace his life with your compassion. Lord, defeat the doubt in his heart with your redeeming love, releasing him from guilt and shame. There is nothing for him to do to earn your love. Jesus, you earned your Father’s love for him. You, who had no sin, became his sin and gave yourself without any cost to him. Like the prodigal son, he has nothing to give but everything to receive. Holy Spirit, reveal your truth in his heart. Help him to receive the inheritance of your love that cost you everything.




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