Luke 15:20 - "And he arose and came to his 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."
When I was a kid, just 3-4 years old, living with my family in the Fox Meadows section of Memphis, Tennessee, one of my favorite activities in all the world was standing on the front porch of our house at 3117 Flint Drive and watching my older sister, Cathy, and brother, Ben, Jr., walk home from school. I loved spotting them in the distance of our long, straight, treeless street. As if it was yesterday, I remember how excited I was for them to get home, after their long, hard day at elementary school, so my mom and I could greet them and welcome them home.
How much more does God, through Christ, eagerly wait to welcome us home?
In today's Bible verse, from Luke 15:20, the story has gotten to the point where a son who, in essence, had told his father, "you're as good as dead to me, so I want my inheritance," has come to his senses, realizing that it's better to be a slave in his loving father's house instead of being free in his own pig pen and pig slop. So the son "arose and came to his 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."
I, as a young child, eagerly watched everyday for my sister and brother to appear in the distance so I could greet them and welcome them home. So too, God, who is the father in today's Bible verse story, eagerly watched everyday for the son to appear in the distance so he could greet him and welcome him home.
Ya see, Friends, we all know people who have been away from the Lord, maybe their whole life, maybe just for a season. Maybe that person is you.
But no matter who it is or how long they've been away, God is eager to welcome you home and spread his arms wide as we see on the cross of God's Son, Jesus Christ. God loved you enough to let you go and explore and see for yourself that there is nothing as joyful and satisfying and lasting and life-giving as daily fellowship with our God through His Word.
Have you been away from daily fellowship with our God through His Word? It's about more than reading a devotion at the start of the day. Do you know His presence and listen for Him and call on Him through the day? As His child, you have been given access, through faith in Jesus, to all the power and wisdom and riches that belong to God.
Arise and come to Him.
He will welcome you home.
He will eagerly greet you.
And he will shower you with gifts in Jesus Christ.
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson