Luke 15:21 - And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
Christ told this parable to show how God is waiting for you. A man had two sons. The younger turned out to be one of the "playboys" of Bible history, but one who finally came to his senses. First, he asked for his inheritance before he was entitled to it, and a pampering father gave it to him. Then, when he had his hands on the money, the prodigal son proceeded to get as far away from home influences as possible. With a swagger in his step and a brazenness in his whole bearing, he was ready to live it up. He'd licked the world, all right—but the world beat him within an inch of his life! His newfound freedom he turned into license; everything he owned he spent in riotous living. Then came the payoff—as it always does. Everything was gone: money, friends, love, self-confidence, and self-respect. There was not even food enough—only famine rations.
Desperation prompts serious reflection. How men—and women, too—will think of home when they are far away from it, or when they have scorned it! The prodigal son thought of the home to which he no longer had a title. He was sure his father would denounce him as a fool, and he would have every right to do so. But, at the end of the day, this was the son's only hope. He recognized his guilt. He was ready to confess. He said, "I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants'" (Luke 15:18-19). Now that would take courage.
But look what happened!
His father was waiting for him, exactly as he had been doing ever since his boy walked out of his life. The welcome mat had never been taken in. The father was waiting for his son, not in anger, but with gifts, many of them, but best of all—forgiveness. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:21b-24a).
Some sinners, unwilling to recognize their guilt or too proud to accept God's generosity, will go through life to the throne of God's judgment with the burden of their sin. Others, like Martin Luther—their number is legion, and they are found in every truly Christian denomination—go home with the prodigal, finding God is waiting for them, and have peace both here and hereafter. The Heavenly Father is waiting for you. He will welcome you with open arms and bless you with forgiveness if you will go to Him in Jesus' Name and asked to be forgiven.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for welcoming us home. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "God Is Waiting for You," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Armin Oldsen, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do you think that God actually waits for us?
2. Do you know anyone who's lived like the prodigal son in Jesus' story?
3. What kind of lessons can we take from the father's love for his son?