The Love of a Father

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 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.’ And they began to celebrate.”—Luke 15:20–24 (ESV)

Yesterday we saw that the father was unconcerned with public opinion and consumed with compassion

The third thing we see is that the father was overflowing with affection. We’re told that he ran to meet his son. The Greek word here conveys an intense desire to get to the goal as quickly as possible. Consider this: In first century Jewish culture, men never ran. It was actually considered shameful for men to run. 

But this dad couldn’t contain himself. He ran as fast as he could to meet his son. He gave no thought to where His son had been, what he’d done, or what he looked like. And to further show his overflowing affection, it says he fell on his neck and kissed him! The Greek word here basically implies that he gave his son a kiss attack.

And that leads us to our final characteristic: The father was extravagant in His restoration. Here we see the father spared no expense. He went to great lengths to communicate to everyone that all was forgiven and all was restored. He brought out the best robe, ring, and sandals. 

It says the father was so overjoyed to have his son back that he covered him in the finest robe, which was a sign of dignity and honor. It was something kings, noblemen, and the highest members of society had. And the father threw his best robe over his son in his current filthy state. He covered his filth and his stench, just like the blood of Jesus covers our sins.

Then, he put a signet ring on his finger with a family crest signifying that he was a special part of the father’s family. It was the seal. The ring spoke of authority, saying that the son was a treasured and valued member of the family. And he put sandals on his feet, which showed he considered him more than a servant, because servants did not wear shoes. And he killed the fatted calf for a party to celebrate his son’s return!

So, here we see the father is sparing no expense in communicating that his once rebellious son was now fully restored. Romans 8:32 (NIV) says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” 

I truly believe this parable should have been called the Parable of the Prodigal Father. Why? Because the word prodigal means reckless and extravagant; something done freely and generously, without thought. What an amazing thing it is to know how prodigal, extravagant, enduring, and unfailing our Father’s love for us is!

DIG: What do these two characteristics tell us about God the Father?

DISCOVER: Why were these actions by the father so shocking? How does this parallel the way God treats us?

DO: Thank the Lord today for His prodigal love for us helpless, hopeless sinners.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.