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. ‘The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ ‘But the Father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. Your brother has come, ‘he replied,’ and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. You never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this so on yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him?’ “My son, the father said, ‘you are always with me, everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” (Luke 20-31)
The Father responds in a way that the younger son does not expect. He receives him back and lavishes him with a robe, ring, sandals, and a feast. These four things are a “sign of position and acceptance.” The best robe was most likely the Father’s. He not only gave him his robe but a ring. This was probably the families signet ring which was very valuable. The sandals signify that he is not seen as a slave, but a son. A feast happened to celebrate something important. This feast was for the son’s homecoming.
Next we see the how the older son responds to his brother coming back home. The older son was angry over how the Father responded to the younger son. He didn’t think it was fair. He had been faithfully serving his Father. Why didn’t he get special treatment like the younger son received? This is a picture of how the Pharisees viewed how Jesus treated those who were sinners. They were self righteous and didn’t see themselves as sinners too.
Which one of the characters in the story do you most relate to? Is it the Father (God), the younger son (sinners), or the older son (the Pharisees). Take some time to pray and ask God what he would like you to learn from this parable. Let’s not only understand the Word but seek to live it out today.