Both sermons I heard today touched on the parable on the Prodigal son. I can think of no better story that really illustrates the scandalous nature of God’s love for His children.
In fact, the parable could more accurately be called The Prodigal God, since the word prodigal means “characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure” or “recklessly spendthrift” (according to Merriam-Webster). God’s love is both.
It’s prodigal that God paid way too high a price for me with His Son Jesus. It’s prodigal that Jesus didn’t shed some or most of His blood, but all of it for me. It’s way more than I or anyone else deserves.
There’s a fantastic book that’s been out of print for years called The Autobiography of God by Lloyd John Ogilvie. He has a chapter on “The Prodigal God” that impacted me when I read it the first time and still comes to mind every time I hear the Prodigal Son story.
It was shocking to the hearers of the parable the way the father in the story let the younger son have his share. For the son to ask for it while the father was still living was to say in essence, “Drop dead!” and show the utmost comtempt for him.
Even more scandalous was how the father not only received his son at the end of the story, but how he ran to him and threw his arms around him and kissed him. Well-respected men in that day didn’t run. It was not considered dignified. But this father wasn’t about to wait one more second for his son who was coming home.
The Cross is so much more shocking and scandalous than we normally paint it in our sanitized sermons on the subject. By the time Jesus got to the cross, He was barely recognizable as human.
That’s the kind of scandalous, prodigal love God has for those of his prodigal children, whether we rebel in a far country or at home. Honestly, the far country doesn’t have to be geographically distant. It can be relational distance, too.
So if you have experienced radigal grace and forgiveness, take time today to express your gratitude for this prodigal God whose prodigal love for us is the reason we are forgiven and free.