Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Celebration Feast

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet’ ” (Luke 15:22).

As the Prodigal Son journeyed back to his father’s house, he did not realize that his father had been hoping for his return. So, “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). The young man humbly confessed his sin and acknowledged that he was unworthy to be his son.

Notice what the father did. He ordered his servants to do several things, all of which show that he was restoring his son to a new life. Let’s look at each of these gifts the father gives to his returned Prodigal because they show us what our heavenly Father has given to us.

First, the father says, “Bring the best robe and put it on him.” Remember Joseph’s robe, given him by his father, Jacob, and the robe later given to Joseph by Pharaoh? These robes were a sign of honor. When a king sought to give honor to a visiting dignitary, he would present him with a costly robe. Thus, the father was saying, “Treat my son as the guest of honor.”

Second, “Put a ring on his finger.” This was a signet ring, the type a king would give to his prime minister. The man who wore this ring was exercising all the authority of the king. Thus, the father was saying, “This man is my son, and he exercises all my authority in this house.”

Third, “Put sandals on his feet.” Servants went barefoot in the house, but the sons did not. The Prodigal had been willing to be made a servant; instead, he was given the shoes of sonship and privilege.

Finally, the father said, “Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate” (v. 23). In the days before refrigeration, meat was eaten only on very special occasions. This feast marked the celebration of the son’s return to the father’s table.

The word prodigal (which we often equate with “wayward”) actually means “lavish” or “abundant.” The son was lavish in sin and his father was lavish in grace. Today meditate on the prodigious gifts of our “Prodigal” Father: His Word, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, assurance of salvation, and the fellowship of believers.