A Troubled Father
The prodigal’s father must have spent many troubled nights, burdened about his son who had gone into the far country. He may have reviewed his life again and again wondering what he might have done differently, reliving a thousand situations and speculating at the possible results had he chosen a different course in regard to his son.
But this troubled father lived to see his son’s return. His tears were changed to laughter; his regret to rejoicing. What was there about this father that brought the prodigal back from the pig pen?
HE WAS APPROACHABLE. The account given by Jesus seems to indicate that the mother had died, adding to the father’s load. It is clear that the family was wealthy. There were servants and a sizeable inheritance. With all these responsibilities, the father evidently remained approachable. When the son decided to leave to seek his fortune, he was able to go to his father and tell him about his dreams. Some might have slipped away in the night, but he knew that his father would listen, that he could communicate with him.
HE WAS AFFECTIONATE. When the son returned home, he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Away with the nonsense that says manhood calls for hardness or that maturity calls for coldness. Spurgeon describes this scene as “prodigal love for the prodigal son.” The son was welcomed by an affectionate father’s open arms, not glaring stares of condemnation.
IN HIS SON’S MIND, HE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH HEAVEN. Even when wayward, the prodigal couldn’t think about his father without being reminded of heaven: “I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,” he confessed.
No wonder the prodigal came home!