- Lost And Found – Introduction
- Lost And Found – Tax Collectors And Sinners
- Lost And Found – Lost Sheep And The Great Shepherd
- Lost And Found – Lost Coin And The Persistent Lady
- Lost And Found – Lost Son And The Gracious Dad
- Lost And Found – Finding The Way Home
- Lost And Found – Welcome Home My Son
- Lost And Found – Amazing Grace
- Lost and Found – The Gracious Father
- Lost And Found – The Other Brother
- Lost And Found – When ‘Home’ Is Not Safe
Before we look at the other brother, I wanted to look closer at what all these gifts from the father to the younger brother really means to us.
The action of the father, was no less than the expression of AGAPE LOVE. ‘Agape’ is the word which describes the highest form of love. It is not based on emotions or feelings. This love is a choice ‘in-spite of’ the one loved being deserving or able to ‘pay back’ anything… it is the love of John 3:16, as well as the love of Matthew 27:35-50; I John 3:16. ONE CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM GOD’S LOVE… NO WAY, NO HOW! (Romans 8:38-39). This was the basis for the father’s actions when his son returned.
The BEST robe, which was reserved for honored guests. (When you visited someone then, you would stay in a special guest room, and in the closet would be a choice of robes to be given to you. Your feet would be washed by the house servant, and you would be formally welcomed and presented with the robe. It was a gift, a symbol of honor shown by the host.)
The implications of the best robe, sandals, and a ring given to the son… well, this surely startled the servants and others as well (especially the older brother). The father, by giving the these things is saying, “THIS IS (STILL) MY SON, I AM ACCEPTING HIM BACK, ALL THE WAY!” The son was not put on probation. He is not back to ‘work it out’, to ‘pay back’ anything. He is not just one step above a slave. He didn’t have to try and un-do all the sins he had committed. He wanted everyone to know, without a shadow of doubt, “THIS IS MY SON!”
Christianity today, has fallen prey to a subtle (and dangerous) legalism. Many cannot understand the very thought of a father who would give the best robe to a ‘dirty hog slopper’. “This son needs to PROVE HIMSELF!” “He needs to make right the lies, give back the money etc…” That’s not the case with this father. Who knows what the son had done! Who knows how many women he had slept with. Who knows how many mornings he had gotten up with a ‘hang-over’. His father did not sit him down and give him a questionnaire to decide whether or not he come came home! Nor did he say, “Well son, you’ve just done too much… I don’t think you would be happy here.” The best robe in the house went to the most undeserving. Agape love is like that. Forgiveness is like that. Restoration is like that. Repentance was obvious, forgiveness is given, and now appreciated more than ever before. God didn’t say, “YOU’LL HAVE TO TRY HARDER SON.” He said, “Welcome home”.
Some Christians could learn a lot from this father. God help us today, when someone has sinned, and wants to come home… to receive him, no questionnaires, no probation, no requirement to ‘unscramble the eggs’. Just give him the robe, sandals, and the ring… not just any robe… the BEST ROBE… the robe of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Not just any ‘ring’, but the ACCEPTENCE ring.