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Home » Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels ! Chapter 45 - Luke 15:20 - The Father's Love Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius
Quick Access Chapter 1 - Matthew 1:1 - Very Man... Chapter 2 - Matthew 1:16 - Jesus the See... Chapter 3 - Matthew 2:3 - Jesus the Trou... Chapter 4 - Matthew 3:10 - The Desert Vo... Chapter 5 - Matthew 4:23 - Jesus in Seas... Chapter 6 - Matthew 5:45 - His Sun... Chapter 7 - Matthew 8:1-3 - Human Lepros... Chapter 8 - Matthew 8:34 - Man's Dislike... Chapter 9 - Matthew 11:28 - The Rest and... Chapter 10 - Matthew 11:29 - The Three E... Chapter 11 - Matthew 12:41 - Nineveh and... Chapter 12 - Matthew 13:25 - The Two Sow... Chapter 13 - Matthew 19:6 - Herod's Ball... Chapter 14 - Matthew 19:15-16 - Man's Wa... Chapter 15 - Matthew 14:24-31 - The Help... Chapter 16 - Matthew 17:17 - The Graciou... Chapter 17 - Matthew 18:1-4 - The Peerag... Chapter 18 - Matthew 18:2; Luke 19:10 - ... Chapter 19 - Matthew 21:44 - The Stone o... Chapter 20 - Matthew 22:42 - The Things ... Chapter 21 - Matthew 24:12 - The Chill o... Chapter 22 - Matthew 24:42, 44 - True Vi... Chapter 23 - Matthew 25:3 - Religion wit... Chapter 24 - Matthew 25:31, 33 - The Gre... Chapter 25 - Matthew 24:70 - The Denying... Chapter 26 - Matthew 27:4 - The True Con... Chapter 27 - Mark 3:35 - Relationship to... Chapter 28 - Mark 4:39 - The Great Calm... Chapter 29 - Mark 5:36 - Only Believe... Chapter 30 - Mark 6:6 - Jesus Wondering ... Chapter 31 - Mark 6:33, 34 - Christ's Te... Chapter 32 - Mark 6:53-56 - Jesus and Hi... Chapter 34 - Mark 11:13 - The Fruitless ... Chapter 33 - Mark 10:52 - Christ's Recog... Chapter 35 - Mark 11:22 - Faith in God... Chapter 36 - Mark 13:33 - Watch and Pray... Chapter 37 - Mark 13:34-37 - The Master ... Chapter 38 - Mark 14:62 - The Coming of ... Chapter 39 - Luke 4:16-31 - The Gracious... Chapter 40 - Luke 6:19 - Health in Jesus... Chapter 41 - Luke 7:36-50 - Much Forgive... Chapter 42 - Luke 11:13 - How Much More!... Chapter 43 - Luke 15:2 - Jesus Watching ... Chapter 44 - Luke 15:10 - God's Joy Over... Chapter 45 - Luke 15:20 - The Father's L... Chapter 46 - Luke 15:22 - God's Free Lov... Chapter 47 - Luke 17:26, 27 - Noah Days... Chapter 48 - Luke 19:11-27 - The Lowest ... Chapter 49 - Luke 14:40 - Christ Must ha... Chapter 50 - Luke 21:28 - Signs of the T... Chapter 51 - Luke 21:36 - Deliverance in... Chapter 52 - Luke 22:18 - The New Wine o... Chapter 53 - Luke 22:19, 20 - The Heaven... Chapter 54 - Luke 23:32-43 - The Three C... Chapter 55 - Luke 24:29 - The Disciples'... Chapter 56 - John 1:12, 13 - Reception o... Chapter 57 - John 3:2 - The World's Need... Chapter 58 - John 3:14, 15 - Life in Loo... Chapter 59 - John 3:29 - The Filling Up ... Chapter 60 - John 3:34, 35 - The Fullnes... Chapter 61 - John 4:10 - The Living Wate... Chapter 62 - John 5:39, 40 - Bible Testi... Chapter 63 - John 6:17 - Night with Jesu... Chapter 64 - John 6:50 - The Bread of Im... Chapter 65 - John 6:51 - Christ's Flesh ... Chapter 66 - John 7:37 - Come and Drink... Chapter 67 - John 7:53; John 8:1, 12 - J... Chapter 68 - John 8:31, 32 - Truth and L... Chapter 69 - John 8:54 - The Father Hono... Chapter 70 - John 11:40 - The Honour Giv... Chapter 71 - John 12:12 - Inquiring afte... Chapter 72 - John 12:32 - The Great Attr... Chapter 73 - John 12:35-36 - Light and i... Chapter 74 - John 12:46 - Light for the ... Chapter 75 - John 12:48 - The Judging Wo... Chapter 76 - John 14:8-10 - The Revelati... Chapter 77 - John 13:16, 17 - The Abidin... Chapter 78 - John 14:26 - The Mighty Com... Chapter 79 - John 14:27 - The Divine Leg... Chapter 80 - John 16:25-28 - Christ in H... Chapter 81 - John 16:33 - Tribulation, P... Chapter 82 - John 17:26 - The Declaratio... Chapter 84 - John 18:28 - Ritualism and ... Chapter 84 - John 19:2 - The Greater Sin... Chapter 85 - John 20:17 - Christ's Work ... Chapter 86 - John 21:5 - The Tender Love... Light & Truth - The Gospels - Footnotes...
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The Father's Love.
"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."-Luke 15:20.
It was hunger, not love, that drew the prodigal back to his father. There was no high nor disinterested motive in his return. He stayed away as long as he could; he only came back when he could not help himself. It was not the thought of his father, but of the plenty of his house, as contrasted with his own want, that led him out of the far country to seek his father's face. So with the sinner. It is want, misery, danger, not love nor any noble motive that lead him to seek the face of God. How foolish the thought of those who would shrink back from God because they have not come to Him with a pure and disinterested motive! But it is with the Father that we have now specially to do. (1.) Paternal watchfulness and far-sightedness; (2.) paternal haste; (3.) paternal compassion; (4.) paternal tenderness; (5.) paternal reconciliation.
I. Paternal watchfulness and far-sightedness. "When yet a great way off, his father saw him." He had doubtless been watching; "this man looketh out for sinners." How quick-sighted is the paternal eye, made keen and clear by the yearnings of the paternal heart. The figure seen thus far off was no doubt very unlike his boy; it was one of rags, and filth, and disfigurement. Yet it is recognized. There is my son at last! Poor wanderer, God's eye is on you in yon far land of famine. He has not forgotten; He has his reasons for not coming out and taking you back by force, like the shepherd the sheep; for He wants your heart, and that cannot be won by force or gold, yet He is on the outlook for you, however far off you be.
II. Paternal haste. "He ran." The son was coming to him, yet he ran to meet him, eager to shorten the distance. He did not keep state or ceremony. He did not think of what might comport with dignity or with offended authority; he did not wait nor move slowly towards him; he ran, as if every inch of distance or moment of separation were intolerable. What eagerness to meet did that haste imply! What heedlessness of all ceremony! No fear of seeming too eager, no thought of thus encouraging sin, or making the prodigal think lightly of his wickedness. Haste was the best for the prodigal, as well as most congenial to his own feelings. What a rebuke does that word "ran" furnish to those who think that a sinner can come to Christ too soon; can be reconciled too quickly. God runs, sinner, to you, will you not run to God? He makes haste, oh make you haste.
III. Paternal compassion. "He had compassion." It would seem as if the pity were stirred by what he saw. The nearer he came the more he had compassion. The rags and filth, instead of repelling him, only awoke still more his pity. Instead of turning away from the loathsomeness, his paternal heart was moved by the sight of it. As we read that Jesus, when He saw the multitudes, was moved with compassion, so was it with the father here. Poor wanderer, you need not then try to cover your rags, or to hide your filth, or to try to make yourself more like what you were in order to attract your father. It is just that which you are which excites his compassion. Your wretchedness, ignorance, defilement, squalor, will be no obstacle. They awake his pity. Go to him then just as you are, and see if his compassions are not infinite. Whoever and whatever you may be, He pities you. The tears of Jesus over Jerusalem are the expressions of that pity,-sincere, and true, and deep.
IV. Paternal tenderness. "He fell on his neck." So was it when Jacob and Esau met; Joseph and Benjamin. Falling on another's neck is the expression of tender love,-love that, for the moment, cannot express itself in words, but buries its face (and with it, past grief and present joy) out of sight on the neck of the beloved one. Ah this is tender love! He fell on his neck! It is the tender love of God. Yet all these manifestations of human love, these tokens of family endearment, are poor to express his unutterably earnest yet tender grace. In listening to God's gospel we too often feel as if it were the mere intimation of his consent to our salvation, implying but a cold willingness to save us from hell. How much we mistake. His is true parental fondness, pity, tenderness, yearning; his is the eagerness to bless us, which words cannot express. Yes, God is in earnest in his tender love.
V. Paternal reconciliation. "He kissed him." This is the completion of the whole-the consummated and manifested reconciliation. There is the kiss of affection,-Jacob kissing Joseph's sons; the kiss of sorrow,-when the disciples fell on Paul's neck and kissed him; the kiss of reconciliation,-when Jacob and Esau kissed, and when righteousness and peace are said to kiss each other. How much is implied in that paternal kiss,-love, joy, pardon, pity, reconciliation. Thus God comes up to the sinner with the fullness of reconciliation in his heart. He does not stay to be entreated, or pleaded with, or persuaded. He hastens up to us, and embraces us in the fullness of his heart. Ah, this kiss is the seal of pardon to the prodigal; and it is this kiss that He is longing to imprint now on your polluted lips! He comes up to you with the reconciliation of the cross; for He is reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses.
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