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October 23 Today’s Reading: Luke 15-16
“Fell on His Neck and Kissed Him”
In the parable of the prodigal son, our Lord Jesus Christ uses the simplest, most vivid language possible to show us how delightful it is to the God of Glory to bestow His superabundant grace to sinners. We are told, “When” the poor prodigal “was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him!” — He kissed him earnestly. He kissed him eagerly. He kissed him ardently. He kissed him much. He kissed him continually. Meditate upon those kisses. I remind you that in this parable, the father’s actions toward his prodigal son beautifully display the boundless, overflowing love of God revealed to sinners who come to Him by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What do these many kisses mean? What do they teach us? They tell us that when a sinner comes home to God by faith in Christ, God welcomes the sinner with all the fulness of His infinite love!
Kisses of Love
The Father’s kisses mean much love deeply felt and demonstrably expressed (Ephesians 3:17-19). These kisses express the great love of our heavenly Father, that eternal, everlasting love that is deeply felt (Language fails me!) in the very heart of God. These kisses speak of the great manifestations of God’s love to the hearts of believing sinners. True love cannot be dormant. Like fire, it must be active. Like water, it must break out. It must show itself in words, actions, deeds, and expressions. Look yonder to Calvary, and behold the love of God for sinners (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). Our blessed Savior did not have to die. We had no claims upon him. There was no appeal on our part for Him to die. When He died for us, the Lord Jesus knew, that if He laid down His life for such sinners as we are, He would get no love in return from those for whom He died, except He create it. The Son of God died by the hands of men, as well as for the sake of men. He died for men who wished that He should be made to die, for men who counted Him worthy of death. In dying for us, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, voluntarily took upon Himself the awful mass of shame and dishonor which we deserve because of sin, and took unto Himself an infinite, indescribable, ignominious relation to sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Truly, “we love Him because He first loved us!” These kisses of grace are the means by which we perceive God’s personal love for us.
Kisses of Forgiveness
The Father’s kisses mean full forgiveness, freely bestowed (1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 43:25). God has promised that He will forgive the sins of those who seek Him (Isaiah 55:6-7). The Lord Jesus Christ has, by His own precious blood, purchased complete forgiveness of all sin for His people (Ephesians 1:3-7; Hebrews 9:12). Now, by His warm embrace and tender kisses, our heavenly Father makes believing sinners to know that their many sins are all forgiven forever. His kiss tells me that all my sins are gone (Hebrews 9:26). He gives another kiss, and tells me that He will never remember my transgressions (Hebrews 8:12). With another kiss, He assures me that He sees no fault in me (Numbers 23:21; Jeremiah 50:20). With another kiss, He tells me that He will never treat me any the less graciously because of my sin (Romans 8:1; 17).
Kisses of Restoration
The Father’s repeated kisses mean complete restoration (Ephesians 2:11-13). With a kiss, God owns me as His son again (1 John 3:1-3; Galatians 4:4-6). With the kiss of His grace, God answers all my prayers and more. Not only am I accepted as a favored servant, I am accepted as His Son! With the kiss of God upon my cheeks, I am assured that all my lost, forfeited privileges are completely restored. The Father’s kisses mean intimate communion and complete reconciliation established by grace.
Kisses of Joy
The Father’s kisses are tokens of great, abundant joy (Luke 15:22-24). The angels of God rejoice, because the prodigal, over whom they have watched with great care, whom they constantly protected (Hebrews 1:14), has now come home. The saints of God rejoice, because a lost brother has now come home. The triune God rejoices, because the object of His eternal love has returned to His bosom. He has been returned by the grace of God. Yet, he gladly returns of his own accord (Psalm 65:4). The prodigal himself rejoices. He rejoices in his Father’s great, indestructible love. He rejoices in the fatted calf slain for his soul, — the crucified Christ, feasting upon Him with an insatiable appetite. He rejoices in the Gospel of peace, by which reconciliation is proclaimed in the depths of his soul. He rejoices in the Holy Ghost, the seal of covenant grace, by which he is assured of his adoption. He rejoices in the robe of perfect righteousness, — the righteousness of Christ, wherein he stands forever accepted.
Kisses of Comfort
Surely, these kisses from the lips of our Father mean overflowing comfort for the hearts of redeemed sinners. They mean the past is all forgotten. The present is all peace. We are immutably “accepted in the Beloved!” The future is all secure. At home, in our Father’s house, there is no possibility of expulsion, or of us ever leaving on our own (Jeremiah 32:38-40).
Once in Christ, in Christ forever! None from Him my soul can sever.
He will never, never leave me, Nor will let me quite leave Him!
The Father’s kisses, if they mean anything, mean strong assurance of grace most free. God’s kisses assure us that His mercy, love, and grace are all real. His incessant kisses assure us that His love is immutable, unfailing, and everlasting. His kisses assure our hearts that we are indeed His! The kisses of God are kisses from the lips of our crucified Redeemer. — “Let him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth: for Thy love is better than wine.