In the parable of the prodigal son, a young man asks for his inheritance while his father still lives, an inappropriate request, to put it lightly. The father gives it to him, and the young man runs off and lives a life of debauchery. Eventually, he becomes impoverished and desperate and decides to return to his father’s house, not as a son, but as a hired slave.
The father would be quite gracious to accept this disrespectful son, even as a slave. He has been disgraced by him. He ought to at least leave him outside for a few days before taking him in. But instead, when he sees him from a long way off, he runs out to him.
Then he does something else beautiful. Luke 15:20 says he “embraced him and kissed him“. A quick read might cause someone to skip over the richness of the word translated “kissed“. It means, “to kiss tenderly, to kiss repeatedly”. This is no formality. The father is explosively delighted to see his prodigal son return.
What a beautiful picture this is of God’s love. When someone repents of his sin and turns to Jesus, God rejoices. Heaven rejoices. Just prior to this parable Jesus says, “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents“. God is not a stoic judge, a distant king. He is a compassionate and loving God, overjoyed when someone becomes born again.
1 Chronicles 27