How Much Different Would the Story Be?
"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him."
How much different would the story of the Prodigal Son be if we took the element of grace out of it? What if, instead of running out to meet his wayward son, the father stayed on the porch and waited for the son to approach him? Instead of a welcoming smile and hug, the stern-faced father would let the prodigal give his entire prepared speech.
When the young man finished with, "I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant," the father would have given his speech. "You are right. You are not worthy to be called my son. You have brought shame and embarrassment upon me and my good name. You have also sinned against your brother who has had to do your work and his in the family business. However, I will accept your offer and hire you on as one of my servants. I will apply part of your wages towards restitution for the money that you squandered."
That changes the whole dynamic of the story, doesn't it? If we did not know this parable, that is exactly how we would expect the story to end. The boy was irresponsible, foolish, and needed to be taught a lesson, right? We can't let the prodigal off too easy, can we?
That is why this story still impacts us. Instead of getting what he deserves, the young man receives grace from his father. Grace does the unexpected. Grace runs out to embrace us and walk with us back to the house. Grace covers our sins and offers us another chance. Grace gives us what we don't deserve.
How has grace made a difference in your life?
If you would like to help us share God's grace in Brazil, here is the link. Obrigado (Thank you)!