Pastor Chris Hayward is the President of Cleansing Stream International, a ministry dedicated to seeing healing, deliverance and discipleship take place in the lives of people. We were happy to welcome Ps Chris back to Singapore for our Men’s Encounter on Sat 26 Aug and as our speaker on Sunday 27 Aug. He gave us a fresh look at the Parable of the Prodigal Son and pointed out the following truths and applications from this familiar passage.
First, this story is not so much about the wayward son as it is about his father. The younger son’s demands, departure, depravity and determination to return reveals much more about the heart of the Father than about the mistakes of the son. Here was a son who knew almost nothing about the character and love of his father. His wild and wasteful living became an opportunity for him to discover what he had completely missed while growing up in his family.
Second, the son returned remorseful and repentant but also with a deal in mind. He was going to negotiate for a place as a servant. There was no thought of being restored as a son. His best bet was to become a hired hand and spend his days in the worker’s dormitory. What a shock it must have been for him to see his father running to meet him. Was the old man in a rage? Would he be slapped or scolded or even stoned? Falling to the ground in dread, the son waited for his punishment.
Third, the father fell upon his son, not in wrath but in grateful joy and relief that he had returned. Kissing his neck, Father called for the servants to bring the best robe, the signet ring of the family and a pair of sandals to place upon the starved, shrunken and unwashed son. There were no deals or negotiations at this reunion, just a demonstration of love and acceptance. The son never finished his well-rehearsed apology speech. A feast was prepared and celebrations began immediately.
Fourth, the robe covered the shame and losses of this young man, giving him a place of honour and value in the eyes of the father and others. The ring symbolized authority, made a prophetic declaration about the son’s identity and was the guarantee of provision and prosperity. With these two items, the son’s restoration was obvious to everyone, including the resentful older brother who wanted nothing to do with the compassion and grace that was being shown.
As it turned out, neither son had known the heart of the father. We should take notice of their error and think again about the true nature of our Father in heaven. Have we underestimated His goodness, mercy and love? Have we grown harsh and critical of ourselves and others? Let me invite you to rediscover the compassionate character of God. Nothing will change our hearts more than gazing at His! There are robes and rings being passed out every day. Don’t miss out on yours.
Loved, accepted and forgiven,