When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men” (Luke 15:17-19).
You know, the younger son probably never truly knew how good and loving and redeeming his father was before leaving home, but he did know him as a good master.
That limited perspective was powerful enough to invite a despairing son back home after he had desperately failed.
"If our revelation of God as a good Master doesn’t mature into a revelation of God as a good Father, we may find ourselves living like a prodigal."
My point? A good master can draw the prodigal home, but it's the good father that empowers a son.
Jesus didn’t tell us this story so we could know the good Master; He was revealing the good Father to us. Why? Because a good Master can still be slaved for, and slavery is never our Father’s heart for us.
I think this is a big deal because most of us know God as a good Master and while that is true and brilliant, if our revelation of God as a good Master doesn’t mature into a revelation of God as a good Father, we may find ourselves living like a prodigal, enslaved either to the world or even religion. The truth that God is a good Master is a wonderful starting place, but was never meant to be the final destination.
God has more names than there are ice cream flavors. He is the Creator, Shepherd, and Deliverer. He is Holy, Majestic, and Righteous. He is our Peace, Provider, Comforter, and Healer. He is Lord, King, Master, and Savior. The list goes on and on. And while Jesus certainly revealed all of these attributes, they weren’t His primary objective. He came for one reason: to reveal the Father.
"Jesus lived, breathed, laughed, talked, walked, slept… every movement, every story, and every word revealed the Father."
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). He also said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).
Jesus lived, breathed, laughed, talked, walked, slept… every movement, every story, and every word revealed the Father. The story of the prodigal son was no different.
“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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:21-24
The moment the younger son truly saw his father’s nature is the moment he received his inheritance. And it’s the same for us. The moment we truly see our Heavenly Father we are set free and empowered to be His sons and daughters, and that’s where our inheritance is accessed. Our Father’s perfect love nature revealed is our inheritance.
Jesus told us this story to reveal His Father—period! He told this story so that we might live beyond the title of “slave” and grow in the freedom, power, and authority of our true inheritance, as His sons and daughters.
The journey of knowing God as more than a good Master is filled with exponential life, exponential righteousness, peace, joy, trust, power, and authority. When we know the good Father, we live in the inheritance of sons and daughters, the measureless love of heaven.
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children. Website: www.afamilystory.org