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Luke 15:20 (NASB)

So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.


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Bible Commentary

Luke 15:20 is a popular Bible verse from the New Testament that tells the happy ending from the parable of the prodigal son.

It is important to note the first part of this happy ending. First, in Luke 15:20, the son took action. He got up and came to his father. If you remember the story, the son had demanded his inheritance from his father and left home and went to a distant country.

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He squandered his estate with “loose living” (Luke 15:13). After a time of famine in the land where he was living, he found himself in a pig sty, poor and hungry. Then Luke 15:17-19 says,

“But when he came to his senses he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’”

The son came to his senses. Can you relate? Have you ever left something or someone behind in pursuit of something better and then come to realize what you had was much better than what you got?

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We all have. Sadly, we humans don’t learn to appreciate something until it is gone.

This is the action our Heavenly Father is waiting for. He waits for us to “get it,” to understand how much safer and better it is under our Father’s protective wings—the boundaries He established for us in His Word.

His patient endurance is far-reaching as He waits for his children to return to Him. The son humbled himself upon his return to his father and asked to be taken on as a hired man, not expecting to be reinstated to the honorable position as a son.

This is the attitude and heart change that gets the Father’s attention every time.

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The next part of Luke 15:20 says, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

The father must have been watching for his son to return. He saw him when he was still a long way off. He was watching for him—hopeful and expectant—because he knew the son would not find anything out in the world that was better than what was already his at home.

Just like the father in the story, our Heavenly Father yearns for us during a time of absence from Him. When we turn our backs and go the opposite way, trusting in ourselves or the world more than Him, it breaks His heart.
 
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But He allows us to go, aware of the pitfalls and dangers that deceive us and lure us away. He waits—waits to hear our call, and He waits to see us come home. He misses the sweet communion we shared when we were with him.

The silence is deafening while we’re gone. He longs for our friendship and companionship. He misses us.

And so He waits and watches with hopeful expectation. And when we come to our senses, He knows. As our loving Heavenly Father, He feels our heart change, our attitude change. He senses a humility that hasn’t been there before.

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The brightness of the resemblance of Jesus Christ draws Him out to watch for our safe arrival home, home to His loving embrace.

When we arrive home—battered and bruised—He takes us up in His everlasting arms and restores to us all the blessings we left behind and then some.

We are renewed in His Presence. And we are restored to our rightful place beside Him as a son or daughter, where Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

We are one in Jesus Christ, heirs of God. Let’s go home where we belong, in the loving embrace of the Father.

Study the Bible verse of Luke 15:20 and come home.

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