In Luke chapter fifteen we have one of the greatest known accounts of God’s love in the New Testament. The famous story that is known as “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”. If you don’t know the story, I urge you to read it before you go any further here.
In the story a foolish son has taken his inheritance, made a terrible decision to go far away, and it had cost him all he had. Shamed, starved, impoverished, humiliated and with a broken spirit he had finally woken up to reality and decided to go home and ask his father’s mercy. When he arrived home, instead of the harsh rebuke he deserved and expected, his father fell on him, loved him, kissed him and welcomed him back. He ordered his servants to kill and cook the “fatted calf” (a tender calf kept stalled and fattened up; readied for a celebration in case his son returned).
It is this fatted calf I want to direct your attention to this week. I wonder how long the father must’ve waited and hoped and looked longingly up the road as he dreamt of his son’s return. How long had the calf languished in the barn just getting fatter and fatter? I don’t know, but I do know that is where many prodigal sons and daughters are as you read this. Afar off in sin, humiliated and shamed and crushed under the weight of this sin-sick world. All that remains is that they should “come to themselves” as this son did. That they should finally admit their terrible decisions had been costly and moreover that they should finally set out for home and a father’s love. Many such sons and daughters have we met out in life. Ruined, shamed, defiled by either themselves or their ‘so-called friends’ and sent into life’s pig’s pen.
Many longing fathers and brokenhearted mothers have we met who watch and wait, who glance hopefully at a silent phone and listen daily for the knock at the door announcing a wayward child’s return. Are there not many such sons’ and daughters’ overdue now? Ah for some the calf has been fattened so long he needs a bigger stall! How much longer will they sit in the pig’s pen chained there by their own stubborn pride? What will it take to rouse them? Our great Father too has many such sons and daughters who have taken their inheritance of eternal life and gone on their own journey out of his will. But even sitting out there out of church and out of his will they are no less sons.
Come home I say!! If as a preacher I could take you a letter from our Father I can tell you what it would say! “COME HOME SON”! COME HOME DAUGHTER! Make our Father wait no longer. If you’re one of those prodigals who is ready to come home I invite you to come and celebrate your return at Calvary Baptist Church! We’ll celebrate your return as many of us have celebrated our own homecoming.