This evening we continue with our series on Prodigal Perspectives by Chris Seay. The topic is “The Father’s Forgiveness”. The focus is on the father. Frankly, I’ve seen some cool things! The father is characterized by forgiveness and generosity. The father’s response was entirely uncharacteristic for his culture. Where he was expected to shun his son and have him prove himself he immediately gives him carte blanche. So unusual is his approach that he ran toward his son—that is an indication that he wanted to spare his son the shame and derision that he would be met with in the town. Instead, the father shames himself by running with a robe and meeting him long before he got to town. The father embraces the decadent son and is not the least turned away by the smells or the failings of his progeny. He instructs his servants to put on sandals on his son–a clear image of his sonship being restored. He tells them to bring out the best robe–a symbol of honor. This robe was designed for once-in-a-lifetime events: very costly and fashionable! And finally the father instructed his wards to give the signet ring to his son–a symbol of authority. All this was done publicly so there would be no confusion as to his intentions about this wayward son. The father is setting aside his rights and is humbling himself in order to restore his repentant son.
This calls for major celebration. I have always understood the Father’s Feast to be for the son. I have a new take on it: the father is inviting the entire town to join him in celebration of the redemptive act–the father has by his gracious acts restored an errant son and that is cause for celebration!