3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
It takes great courage for the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable to return back to the father a failed man. Luke 15:17-18.
In human eyes, the prodigal son should be rebuked by the father for squandering his wealth away. Instead he was given new robe and a ring symbolizing that he now has tasted the bitterness of life and is now more than able to rule his house. Our Father’s love for us is so unlike a natural father’s love. A human father would extend such privilege only to a submissive and obedient child who possess good stewardship. Indeed our ways are not God’s ways. Isaiah 55:8.
Jesus was indicating by this story who our heavenly Father truly is. Even though we turn away from Him to pursue our ambition, He still accepts us when we turn back to him. God is waiting to welcome and embrace a repentant sinner. Our heavenly Father like this father in this story cannot wait to welcome a repentant child. This father’s actions demonstrates our heavenly father’s forgiving spirit and longing to wait for His wayward child to return to his bosom. Verse 20.
The older brother’s reactions shows a person rejoicing at other people’s plight more than compassion that he is a victim of circumstances through wrong choices. Refusal to accept all those whom the Lord accepts is no small matter. It reveals our relationship to God Himself. The elder son’s attitude shows us one reason why the younger brother left home in the first place. He is in his father’s house but do not know His Father’s heart. He knows nothing about the joy of being a son. The prodigal son on the other hand knows more about his father’s heart. He is so close to the Father and yet so far from him.
The gist of the story is that what we know of God is seen in how we see ourselves as lost and how we deal with others as lost. God’s heart aches over those who are lost as indicated in the way his father welcome the prodigal son.
God’s heart rejoices over those who repent from their hearts. How well we know Him is revealed by whether or not we ache and rejoice as He does. The Lord is patient with the whole world not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.