Robert Griffith | 23 July 2020
Robert Griffith
23 July 2020


Jesus told many parables when He walked among us all those years ago. We are blessed to have some of them preserved in the Bible for us so their powerful meaning can impact us through many generations. At times we hear people talk about the most quoted or most preached parable or they ask us what our favourite parable is. For me that’s like being asked to select a favourite child, I just can’t do it. They are all special and every parable Jesus told hits the mark in some significant way in our earthly journey depending on our circumstances at the time.

Now if you were to ask me to select a parable which best illustrates the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then for me that’s an easier choice. I believe the Parable of the Prodigal Son is the best description we have of the gospel. This parable is a simple story about the human condition and how we are reconciled to God, our heavenly Father. However most of the time I’ve heard people preach on this parable they have totally missed the mark! I’m sure you have heard it said that the younger son repented of his sinful life when he was on his facein the pig pen eating scraps from the ground. He woke up to himself, realised he was a sinner, so he repented and returned to his father. I have a different take on this story.

This son thought about his father’s servants eating a wholesome meal and sleeping in a warm bed in what used to be his home and enjoying a better life than him. So this son decided to go home and strike a deal with dear old dad to employ him as a servant. He would tell dad he was sorry for being a bad boy and ask if he could please treat him as a servant, not a son, so he didn’t have to eat pig scraps anymore! So the son heads home to strike a deal with dad and be treated like a hired hand.

However, before he could even open his mouth and insult his father with such a proposition, his loving dad ran to him, embraced him, loved him, forgave him, poured grace into his life and treated him as the beloved son he was. At that point, I believe his son would have been completely overwhelmed by his father’s love and the deep reality of repentance would have then flooded his heart. His whole life would have been transformed by the love of his father!

That is why many scholars, Bible teachers and even some Bible translations do not refer to this as the Parable of the Prodigal Son but prefer to call it the Parable of the Forgiving Father and that’s the gospel in a nutshell. So we need to understand that repentance is the first fruit of the grace of God in our life. Repentance iswhat God gives to us freely when He gives Himself to us freely in love!It’s God’s kindness that leads us to genuine repentance (Romans 2:4).

The reason this parable is rated as one of the most quoted and most preached is, I believe, because we all can relate to it. We are all prodigals who have been loved back to life by our forgiving Father. Not just once – not just that first time we might remember accepting the forgiveness of God in Christ – but all the time. Every day God is loving us back to life. There are many, many times I can recall ‘coming home’ to my Father God and feeling His loving arms around me again. Because God is love, He is always standing, waiting with outstretched arms, ready to embrace, to forgive, to restore, to forget our sin and remind us of our place as a child of God. We may have wandered away for a day or two or a month or two or for many years – it matters not. God’s love, acceptance and restoration is always waiting for us and the more we bask in that forgiving love, the less likely we are to stray from God in the future.

I can remember the year 1996 very well. I was in pastoral ministry doing what I have been doing most of my life now, but that year in particular was one in which I believe there was a channel opened from my spirit to God’s heart and I learned so many things. God is always speaking and revealing truth and I have many wonderful memories of those times of revelation and the impact they had on my life and ministry. But that year was different. God spoke to me primarily at that time through the many songs I was writing, most of which never saw the light of day and seemed to only be for me. We did sang a few of those songs in our worship times at Orange Baptist Church, but many of them were just part of my journey and growth in the Lord.

I kept most of those songs and I often go back to read words which came so powerfully at that time. Whenever I do that, the Lord speaks to me again and I realize that God’s Truth has no ‘use by date’ and just like the Bible, God’s Word can come to us through books, hymns and songs written a very long time ago in a totally different context.  Such was the case this week and the title of this Blog post is the title of one of those songs from 24 years ago. Let me share the words with you. I am sure you will recall times when this song from my heart was also the cry of your heart. Perhaps, for some of you, that time is right now and so I am praying that God will use these words to open your heart to His love, forgiveness and grace.

Coming Home

Father, dear Father I want to come home, I’ve been away far too long
I’ve tried so hard to make it alone, yet I know it’s with You I belong
Your grace and Your love overwhelm me as You run with arms open wide
I have wandered so far, but now I am home and I’ll never again leave Your side

Father, I come home to You, I give You my tears and my pain
forgiven, restored, I stand in Your grace – with power to serve You again

I’ve struggled so hard in the flesh, Lord – sinking each day in the mire.
I rest in Your arms and hear You say, “Child, it’s your heart I desire.”
I’m weary and tired of striving – restore me to my First Love
for it’s not by might, nor by power – it’s by Your Spirit above!

Father, I come home to You, I give You my tears and my pain
forgiven, restored, I stand in Your grace – with power to serve You again

© 1996 Robert Griffith

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