"The Lord Welcomes Sinners"
March 4, 2011
(Jesus said) "So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20 (NIV)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Many of you know the story of the prodigal son. You recall how he rejected his father and pursued that which was contrary to what he had learned at home. The parable, along with speaking of the two boys, reveals much about the father. Indeed, we can discover five actions of the father, actions which are closely related to those of our Heavenly Father.
ACTION 1: It is written the father saw the son while he was far away in the distance. What does that show? The father did not remain in the home, but he was keenly watching and waiting for the wandering boy. WE KNOW our Heavenly Father is also waiting to receive lost sinners.
ACTION 2: The father had compassion. Compassion is what we feel when someone we love is hurting. In this passage it explains the pain the father experienced for his son. WE KNOW God comes into our situation, knows our pain and wishes to do something about it.
ACTION 3: The father saw his son coming and ran towards the boy. By this, WE KNOW when the Holy Spirit turns us to God, the Lord is eager to welcome us. In this His grace and love never comes slowly or delayed.
ACTION 4: The father embraced his son. In spite of his son's dirty clothes, in spite of the smell of his son from having dwelt among pigs, the father embraced his son. He never considered the dirt and bad smell. No, the father hugged him, embraced him and kissed him. By this, WE KNOW the Lord our Father is also waiting. Like this father, our Heavenly Father wants to embrace all of us when we are brought back to Him in repentance. This He does because of the sacrifice of the Savior. This He does because redeemed, restored and forgiven, once again we are His children.
ACTION 5: This part of the passage says the father "kissed" his son. Kissing shows the closeness of the relationship. It's true; Judas misused the kiss by betraying Jesus with such a gesture. But here the father's kiss is sincere. It tells us the father has publicly identified this boy as his own son. By this, WE KNOW the same is true in regard to our Creator. What a wonderful truth that is! God is waiting for us. He is the God who sees us every day, the God who has compassion on us, the God who runs towards us without waiting, the God who embraces us because our sins are, in Jesus, removed. This all-powerful Lord kisses and identifies us as His own sons and daughters.
THE PRAYER: Gracious and forgiving Father, thank You for calling us as Your children and, because of Jesus, welcoming us back each time we stray. In Jesus we give thanks. Amen.
Biography of Author: The preceding Daily Devotion comes from the Lutheran Hour Ministries Office in India. There, Lutheran Hour Ministries-India broadcasts the Gospel in both Tamil and Hindu to citizens in this country of more than one billion people. Additionally, LHM staff utilizes cassette tapes, printed materials, and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) to share God's love and the redemption He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries