The Kiss of the Father

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Jesus hears another complaint from some Pharisees

Jesus welcomed tax collectors and sinners and ate with them

Would have made him ritually unclean

The younger son asked for his share of the inheritance early (which was acceptable).

But He took his inheritance and squandered it on various pleasures.

NIV says “wild living”
The word used in asotos Greek is implies wasteful living
The root word is sozo meaning salvation
Implying wasteful living in need of salvation

Not only did he spend everything, but he also was starving because of a famine

It’s an irony that had he not spent it all, he might have been o.k.
Also, an irony, the father’s servant had more than enough when the son was starving because of his own wasteful living.
Yet another irony, had he chosen good friends, they could have taken care of each other.

The other son stayed home but worked in the fields like a servant instead of spending time with his father.

He “slaved” and “obeyed orders” working in the field, instead of spending time with his father.

Sometimes, we focus on what we inherited, rather than on who gifted it to us.

During a funeral, we share fond memories of the life of our loved one.
But after a funeral, many spend their time dividing what was left behind.
If we are sure of their last wishes, it makes things somewhat easier.
If not, it can devolve into family fights and feuds.

Instead of drawing a family together, it can amplify our loss.

Symbols of the Parable

The father of the parable is equated with the Father of Jesus.
The older son, the first son, is equated with the people of Israel.
The younger son is equated with Gentiles who enter the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.

This is a parable about relationships: A father who had two sons.

The father was willing to divide the inheritance for his sons, as was fitting and proper.

It was the father’s wish that his sons would have a portion of what was his.

The father knew what he was doing when he granted the younger son his request.

The younger son took his inheritance, probably to establish some independence, but squandered it all.

The father also split the inheritance with the older brother, who owned/possessed everything else.

He never had to ask for anything. He could have celebrated with friends, but he did not.

The younger son decided to return home.

While the younger son eventually understood his error and returned home in humility and with repentance,
the older son remained angry and confused about the grace of his father.

The Father welcomed the younger son home with open arms and a kiss.

What loving parent would not welcome a lost child home with a tender embrace?
Who could ask him to do differently?
The one with the bitter heart.
One could imagine the father embracing both sons, without the need to withdraw from the other.

God is such a gracious father.

Unmerited favor, Grace, for the sinner can be confusing and frustrating for those who attempt to live rightly from early years.

But, bitterness left unchecked will create distance between us and the Father.
Yet, still, the Father is ready with open arms to welcome who are humble and repent.
Grace given to another does not take away any amount of grace that was given to us.

We can/should go before God and call upon God anytime we need help or encouragement.

The inheritance of God is given to us as we trust in Jesus Christ to save us from wasteful living.

We may squander it by remaining home but never recognizing our graciously given position before God.
We may squander it like the younger brother, living as we please, until we are humbled by our circumstances to return.
No matter the position we find ourselves in, thank God that God is gracious and receive us in our repentance.

Let us welcome and offer forgiveness and celebration to any who humbly return to the Lord.

May God welcome them back to God’s embrace with a Holy Kiss.

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