And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry.
The three-fold parable of Luke 15 sets forth the joy of Heaven over the salvation of sinners who repent. The Lord Jesus is the seeking Shepherd; the Holy Spirit is the light that makes manifest the lost coin; the returning prodigal is welcomed to the arms of the Father whose love saw him afar off and led Him to run to meet him on the way. Pharisees and haughty scribes could find no joy in the display of grace. But poor sinners revel in its blessedness. The merriment of the Father’s house will go on forever.
As I was my Father loved me,
Loved me in my sin and shame,
Yet a great way off He saw me,
Ran to kiss me as I came.
Then in bitter grief I told Him
Of the evil I had done—
Sinned in scorn of Him, my Father,
Was not meet to be His son.
But I know not if He listened,
For He spake not of my sin—
He within His house would have me,
Make me meet to enter in;
From the riches of His glory,
Brought His costliest raiment forth,
Brought the ring that sealed His purpose,
Shoes to tread His golden court.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 211.