“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him”, (Luke 15-17, 18, 20).
Each time I think about it, I feel how sin can keep a child of God far away from Him. It is true that God is loving and caring, but Isaiah adds that it is only sin that causes a separation between us and Him, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear”, (Isaiah 59:1-2). And so, the prodigal son’s story readily comes our way so that we should come Home to an outstretched arm, who gave us His only Son, and through the supreme prize He paid for us on the Cross of Calvary, we are now redeemed from eternal damnation.
According to the Bible, the prodigal son came to his senses, which means before then, he was not in the right frame of mind. Having collected his share of wealth from his father, he went to a far country to follow his passion and possibly to satisfy his lust. There is evil always in men’s heart, which the Bible confirms: “This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead”, (Eccl. 9:3). What a pity!
This prodigal told himself the truth, when he said “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee”, (Luke 5:18). This is part of what God expects from us today; rather than covering up and never admitting our follies, we should be bold to face them for life is to be found again in them. The decision to go to the father was a right step that eventually brought redemption to his endangered and empty soul. You may ask, is it not time to turn to God and be saved from sins damnation? Yes, if we are kept away by sin – drinking, womanising and drug addiction, it is time to come to the waiting hands of God.
Another high point from the prodigal’s attitude was that he said “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?” (Luke 15:17). This reveals the heart of his kind father and a luxurious home. The ability to have many hired servants revealed that his family is wealthy.
This rascal of a son in humility desired to come home and be counted among them. We know “humility costs nothing but wins a lot”. The Bible says “Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble”, (Prov. 3:34). As we plan to come home, think about this virtue, humility, then the Saviour passed it and God gave Him the highest name “Because of this, God lifted Jesus high above everything else. He gave Him a name that is greater than any other name. So when the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow down before Him. And every tongue will say Jesus Christ is Lord. Everyone will give honour to God the Father”, (Phil. 2:9-11).
Further, the prodigal son said: “I am starving to death”. Sin does no one any good. In fact, it defaces and stifles one’s joy and happiness. Thank God for the step he took by going back to the father.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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