The Running Father

Sharing Options

Different names have been suggested for the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Some have suggested the Parable of the Self-Righteous Older Brother, but one of the best suggestions comes from a theologian who calls it the Parable of the Running Father. God delights to forgive, and, in forgiving, He frequently throws aside the kind of dignity that stuffed shirt religionists would like Him to have. Of course, He never throws aside His true dignity; rather He exhibits it in this. His glory and true majesty is clearly seen here, in the forgiveness of our sins.

He takes away guilt, He kills the fatted calf, He organizes a dance, He even reaches out to the older son who has been faithfully working in the fields with a dour but pious expression.

But what does this say to you, you who may have spent some time, like the wastrel son, in a far country? Your far country may differ from someone else’s, but the citizenship papers of every far country all have “guilt” stamped on them. How do you return home? What do you do with guilt?

There are three useless ways to deal with it. You can imagine guilt, living by your own rules, you can deny guilt, rebelling against heaven, or you can adjust your mental framework in order to simply live with the guilt.

None of these is acceptable in Christian worship. So stop coveting the pig food, come to yourself, take yourself in hand, and come now to worship the Father–the Running Father–the one who runs down the road to meet errant children.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments