Posted by Josh Dufrene on 7 August 2017

The story of the prodigal son has always held significant meaning in my life. In my youth, I identified with the younger brother that grew impatient with his father's timing and asked for his inheritance prematurely; ultimately bringing him to a place of brokenness where his only real option was to return home and ask for forgiveness. 

I mainly viewed this story as a major lesson in patience and submission, which are vital to representing our Heavenly Father here on earth. 

However, now that I'm older and have two young sons of my own, I've started to read this story from a different perspective. The father's perspective. I believe that the main reason Jesus came to this broken planet was to reveal the heart of His Father to His people. There's nothing my boys could ever do that would diminish my love for them. Absolutely nothing. 

The idea for this song, Back to the Father, came while listening to my Pastor teach on the parable. The imagery of the father running to his son to welcome him back home has always touched my heart in a special way. What a beautiful picture this is! But let's dig a little deeper and look at this parable with a first century perspective.

It makes perfect sense to us today to run to our children when they are hurting or lost. But, in Jesus' time, a Jewish man hardly ever ran. If he ran, he would have to hitch up his tunic to keep from tripping or falling and in doing so would reveal his legs, which was considered shameful in that day. It was also common for the Jewish community to perform a ceremony called the "Kezazah" when a son would waste his inheritance among the gentiles. They would break a large pot in front of him and yell, "You are now cut off from your people!". 

But the father ran. He took on this public humiliation and shame to get to his son and embrace him before the community could perform the ceremony, making it clear that this time, it wouldn't be necessary. He openly welcomed his son back to the family, restored all that was lost, and called for a celebration! 

The application for our own lives is so clear. Our Heavenly Father took on our shame through His Son, Jesus, who willingly endured the cross on our behalf. We don't have to live with regret and shame for past mistakes. The prodigal son came to a place where he had hit rock bottom, eating with pigs, but the scripture says he "came to himself". He realized that even his father's servants had it better than he did and so he said, "I will arise and go to my father's house". And the rest is history.

We all make mistakes. Every day. We all sin and fall short. But the beautiful thing about our Heavenly Father is that as soon as we reach that place where we "come to ourselves", and admit that we can't manage our lives without Him, He comes running in our direction! He restores, forgives, and all of Heaven joins in on the celebration! It doesn't matter if you're having a rough day or you've been running from God your entire life, you can always make the decision to return to the Father's house. There's a party waiting for you!

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