For those of you who love the parable of the Lost or Prodigal Son, there is a beautiful moment that happens when the father in the story sees his son returning home and goes to greet him. There has been much ink spilled over the way in which the father in the story welcomes the son back home. The greeting takes place in Luke 15:20ff, however I want us to consider for a moment the notion that it is not the greeting itself that is special.
Notice the greeting that Jacob gets from Laban in Genesis after he travels from Isaac’s land back to Haran to find a wife. The story reads…
29:13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister's son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14 and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.
There are a few other places in scripture where the same greeting is used to show how the "receiving" party fully welcomed the "traveling" party. This type of greeting is a feature of the Jacob and Esau saga later in the Genesis account and I could keep going, but let me get to my point. There is something that makes Jesus’ father/son story special, and most likely irritating to his listeners who we know to be Jewish men, leaders of their community.
The son didn’t deserve the greeting. Whereas Laban was happy to see Jacob, and Esau had curbed his anger against his blessed brother; the story of the Prodigal son sets up a scenario in which we expect the boy to be punished instead of celebrated (which is another appropriate greeting in scripture for rebellious children).
In this moment we understand that the Father in Luke's telling of the story must be God, because we are all proof that God welcomes and celebrates the return of every person who squanders His fortunes. This reality includes you and me. Whatever path we walk, and however we get home; God will always celebrate our return to His house. May we live in the house of the Lord forever!
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.