In Luke 15 Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son; this story is a metaphor for lost sons and daughters coming home to the Father.
The return home begins when the lost son, comes to his senses. He has an insight into his father and his father’s household that though true he had not seen before. He awakened to the goodness of his father, seeing that it would be better as a servant in his father’s house than living in his current circumstances. All lost sons and daughters need a similar insight. This lost son begins his journey home. He does not know about his father’s love, he does not know about the place his father has for him; he just hopes to get a job and earn his keep. And as he comes close, his father who is watching for him, runs and embraces him. And as the lost son admits his sin and unworthiness the father is declaring; bring a new robe, sandals, a ring, and put on a feast we are going to celebrate; this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
Jesus has finished the work for every lost son and daughter to be enthusiastically embraced and welcomed home by our Father in heaven. For a new robe of righteousness to be put on them, sandals of peace on their feet; a ring of sonship on their finger; and a feast that celebrates their coming home. We were all dead but are made alive, lost but are found. Every child of God who returns home is the joy of the Father. And it is the Father’s will and pleasure to raise us up, and seat us with Christ, in a place of celebration and recognition.
As this truth of being raised up and seated in Christ permeates our heart and mind, we will grasp our position as a son or daughter of God. We will see ourselves clothed in righteousness purchased by the blood of Jesus our first-born brother; our feet fitted with shoes of peace, a ring of authority on our finger. We are not a slave or servant in the Father’s house, we are children. We sit face to face with Jesus, up close and personal, whispering to one another not shouting at each other. This truth will transform us.
Our Father in heaven is looking for us, watching to see us come home. He has specially chosen us to be adopted sons and daughters, seated with Christ, face to face. He eagerly welcomes us home just as we are; and extravagantly celebrates our becoming part of his family. All our new life with him is paid for by our first-born brother, Jesus Christ. Freely we receive his glorious lavish grace.
As the prodigal received the ring that marked him as his Father’s son, so we receive the Holy Spirit of Christ, who marks us as God’s adopted sons and daughters, and empowers us to represent the Father’s interests. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, raises us up and seats us with Christ. None of this is from ourselves, it is all a gift from the Father. Our role is to believe it, receive it, and live it. Imagine the prodigal taken into the house, put on a special seat, with new clothes and shoes; and in the middle of the celebration he stands and says; I can’t be here, I don’t deserve this, and runs from the feast. He is right but he is wrong. None of us deserve to be welcomed home, seated face to face with Christ, and celebrated; but we honour the Father by agreeing that we are worth it, and allowing ourselves to join in the celebration because the Father says so, not because we deserve it. In this we are both humbled and honoured, and this is good. Have you experienced how humility and honour walk together in the saving grace of Jesus Christ that forgives, redeems, makes alive and raised us up and seats us face to face with Christ?
As we allow ourselves to live seated with Christ, face to face; we are humbled because we know we don’t deserve it, but honoured by the Father’s love and mercy towards us. We are both of these at the same time.
We are all prodigals coming home, and as we come we find the Father watching for us, running to us, embracing and restoring us to sonship. And we celebrate this together. It is good!