The Prodigal’s Father
The God Of All Grace – Luke 15:20
What a picture we have before us! Here is the God of all grace, the God of glory, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, beautifully portrayed in the prodigal’s father. Here is our heavenly Father, the God of all mercy, rushing from his great and glorious throne to receive a poor, needy sinner coming to him for mercy!
“When he was yet a great way off…” – There you are, you who are yet without Christ. You are a great way off. No matter how near you think you are, no matter how near others may think you are, you are still a great way off. Your changes of life, your resolutions, your determinations, your imaginary steps toward God, all leave you just as far off from God as ever you were. Nothing you do, no step you make brings you one step nearer God, until God steps out to you and brings you into his house. Oh, how I want you to come to God! But I will not deceive you. I know, and I want you to know, that you will never come to God until God himself, by an act of almighty, free, sovereign, and irresistible grace in Christ, brings you to himself.
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him!” – His father saw who he was –Where he had been. –All that he had done. –What he was. –All the filth that was upon him. –All his great need. –What he would soon be!
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion…” – The word is a tremendous expression of God’s inexpressible love toward us in Christ. It means “co-passion”. Our God is a God full of compassion! There was no anger, no resentment, no hostility, only love in the father’s heart for his returning boy. That’s our God! “He, being full of compassion, forgave our iniquity.” “Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” Because he is a God full of compassion, he “is slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran…” – What? God almighty in a hurry? God running to a sinner? That’s the picture. Oh, blessed be God, that’s the picture! This is the only place in all the Bible where we have a picture of God getting in a hurry to do anything. Here we see the Lord God of heaven, the God against whom we have sinned, rushing, running out to meet a sinner in mercy, a sinner who deserves nothing but his wrath!
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck…” – This is another expression of the greatness of God’s affection to sinners (Gen. 45:14; 46:29; Acts ), and of the greatness of his condescending grace. Our heavenly Father is here pictured as falling upon the neck of a sinner, a neck which had been like steel, so stiff and rebellious. Surprising as it is to those who do not know him, that is just like our God, of whom it is written – “He delighteth in mercy!”