Journal Luke 15 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: (This is the story of the Prodigal Son. The background: When this son became of age, he demanded his portion of the inheritance early. Being given that, he proceeded to blow through it on wine, women, and song. At the end of this, finding himself poor, without friends or fortune, the telling of the story continues by Jesus)

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger?!

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him,

  • Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
  • I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
  • Treat me as one of your hired servants.

And he arose and came to his father.

But while he was a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son…’” Luke 15:17-21

Observation: I noticed that the Prodigal Son didn’t approach his father expecting a prize, or even compassion. The inference was that he was hoping for mercy—hoping, wondering if he would receive some sort of mercy…

Analysis: Hope.

Hope is a big thing. It is what the Prodigal Son was having faith in, the hope that his father might show even a little bit of mercy.

Hope isn’t much talked about in Christian circles; it is too ambiguous, too uncertain. Even when the scriptures unambiguously say,

  • “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe…” (1 Tim 4:10) and;
  • “…so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:12)

The rest of the Prodigal Son story testifies of the father’s enthusiasm at receiving his son back from the symbolic “dead.” Also shows the response of the son that stayed and did right all the years the wayward son was gone (a study in itself; I wonder: does the church celebrate more on a conversion than steadfastness? What about if the “conversion” falls away? Makes me wonder and think hard…

My point is about the beginning rather than the afterparty thrown in celebration. What comes before approaching the Father?

The Prodigal came to the Father, acknowledging his misconduct, his sin, first to Heaven (basically the Throne of God), and then to his father. Note the procedure: He sinned against God first and foremost. All sin is against the rule of the King; it isn’t just bad conduct like forgetting to salute or rolling through a stop sign. My sin is always founded in being a treasonous being to the Creator, therefore, my sin, any sin is significant testimony to requiring a Savior.

Then, the second part of the story is of the Grace and Mercy of the Father, and, while celebratory, was not what the Prodigal was looking for—he would have been satisfied in being a doorkeeper (c. Ps 84:10 NASB “For a day in your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness…”)

What do I think of most? That my salvation has been secured and the next (and only) step to consider is heaven OR do I think of His Mercy and Grace to allow a sinner like myself to be accepted in His Household?

Prayer: Father, I can’t help but think of strong songs to reinforce your word. Right now, “I can’t comprehend Your fathomless love; I’m gripped and amazed at what you have done,” is rippling through my skull.

I am amazed at your mercy towards me, especially with the boneheaded stuff I do…


Ricky Two Shoes