Lutheran Home Association Blog

Love Without Limits

Posted on Tue, Apr 02, 2019

His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20b) 

iStock-894074170Our Bible verse for this week is part of one of the more well-known stories in the New Testament – “The Prodigal Son”.  The story has even led to that terminology being used in popular culture.  The child who is the outcast or black sheep of the family is sometimes referred to as “the prodigal (son)”. 

Regardless of how you use that terminology, you can take great comfort in the message God gives us in that parable.  Yes, that well-known story is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual meaning. 

The father in this story is God, our heavenly Father.  Whether we like the imagery or not, the prodigal son is each one of us.  We may not have been a rebel child to our parents or raised all kind of trouble, at least as far as most people are concerned. But spiritually each of us has been a prodigal. 

This is the side of our lives which each of us hopes no one else sees or remembers.  It is the “dark” side of our lives where we daily go our own way and put a hand in the face of God or mistreat our fellow human ways which are beyond shameful. I’m not trying to make you feel more guilty or bring up the horrors of the past.  The devil is good enough at doing that. 

When you feel that way, I want you – more than that, God wants you to have the full comfort which is conveyed through this well-known story.

When you wonder whether God can forgive a sin or if he really loves you in spite of all you feel you’ve done, put yourself in the sandals of the prodigal son in this story. Feel the warm, loving embrace of your heavenly Father and know that even when it feels like or you think that no one else loves you, God loves you more than you know.  That is not just some nice-sounding catch phrase, it is reality.  If you really want to know how much the loving embrace of your heavenly Father is sincere and forgiving, look at the cross where his Son hung and see each one of those sins paid for and removed forever. 

This is where the parable of the prodigal son gets very real and personal.  That is the reason Jesus used that teaching tool of the parables.  He wants us to see ourselves in the stories he uses and know that he truly and deeply cares for us no matter who we are, what we’ve done or how far we’ve wandered. 

The story of the prodigal son may be rather well-known, but it is meant to convey to us one of the simplest and most comforting truths of the Bible – God’s love for every human being has no limits!

Posted by Joel Gaertner

Rev. Joel Gaertner is The Lutheran Home Association Vice President of Ministry and National Director of Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM). He provides spiritual guidance to our entire organization and develops and guides JCM programs in congregations. Pastor Gaertner and his wife, LuAnn, live in Cudahy, Wis., and have two adult children. Outside work, he enjoys golf, walking and watching just about any sporting event, especially the Green Bay Packers.

Tags: Christian Life