And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. – Luke 15:20-24 ESV
When studying scripture, we must know who Jesus was talking to, and what He meant- based on the culture and time they were living in and what that means to ME today. The story was being told to the religious leaders because of v2: And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” These religious leaders were brazenly arrogant. They would often tout their own righteousness while at the same time condemn others. They were wrapped in the robe of “self-justification” and “self-righteousness”. The bad character in this story is the SON who remained, for He represents the people Jesus had the message for!
Leader, Jesus tells a story about a sinner who repents, a father who forgives, and a brother who 1) asserts his own righteousness, 2) condemns his sibling for past mistakes and 3) questions the wisdom of a father for showing mercy to a sinner while at the same time failing to show honor to FATHER. A robe, a ring, sandals and a feast: what are things we who FOLLOW Abba Father, through Jesus His Son- can expect to receive! The Scriptures are full of stories about the significance of garments. Bestowing such a gift- a robe, was a sign of distinction, honor, intimacy and affection. Jacob set his son Joseph apart from his other children with a ROBE (Gen. 37: 3). Hannah, brought her son, Samuel, a coat every year when he served in the temple under Eli (1Sam. 2: 19). Mordecai was also given this distinction (Esther 8:15).
Conduit, A ring is a symbol of power and authority (Est. 8:10). It carries the weight of the one who gives it. Pharaoh bestowed such an honor on Joseph (Gen. 41:41-42). The sandals signified he was a SON, not a servant of the father. Servants went barefooted, Children wore shoes! The Feast is THE GREAT WEDDING celebration of the believer’s victory over sin through the RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTIFICATION of JESUS, not by OUR OWN hard work, dedication and discipline. God’s GRACE and MERCY are gifts to those who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead. (Rom 10:9) Salvation, Redemption is A GIFT- just like the RING, the ROBE, the SHOES and the FEAST! Praise be to GOD the FATHER for HIS benevolence and love!