As he feeds the pigs desiring to eat the food of what the Jewish people see as an unclear animal. Realization hits him.
Luke 15:17 – And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Now we have to note how things are different between his life now and those that are servants to his father. As was pointed out in the previous part of this series he had made himself a bondservant. In essence a slave for six years. His master was not feeding him. His father on the other hand had free people working for him. In fact his father paid them. This is shown in the word “hired” and by the fact that they have enough money to be able to give bread to those in need. As shown by the wording: “have bread enough and to spare.”
Hired servant – misthios – a paid worker, hired servant, hireling (contrasted with a slave).
The implication in the next few verses implies that he came to realize that if he stayed a bondservant he would die of starvation. So he leaves his situation.
Now here we must come to another realization within the younger son. At the beginning of this parable he is prideful and arrogant. For he went to his father and demanded his inheritance. Now in the pit of despair and starvation a new man arises. A man that is humbled. He says this:
“Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”
Not only does he see his actions as wrong, but an actual sin. He also realizes that his actions were so shameful that he can no longer consider himself as a child of his father. His humility only begs of him to seek after being a servant of this man who is his father.
So he heads home. As he comes into sight of home. His father sees him coming towards him. Even though he is a ways off his father knows it is him. He recognizes him. At seeing him. The bible says this:
Luke 15:20 – 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.
Compassion – splagchnizomai – I feel compassion, have pity on, am moved.
Pity – sympathy and understanding for someone else’s suffering or troubles
The father understood what had transpired. He did not hate him, nor despise him. In fact he ran to him and fell upon him hugging him tightly and kissed him. This is how God sees all that come humbly toward Him seeking His forgiveness. God loves all of humanity. All that is required by us that are his children, is to acknowledge Him. To say we have sinned, and then to go to Him. He will then run to us as well. Embracing us, holding us to Him. For we acknowledge that He is not only our God, our Creator, but our Father as well.
The sins are already forgiven, just because we turn to God and go to Him. This is seen in the very next two verses. The son begins to make His speech he had planned, but before he can even ask to be only accepted as one of his father’s servants. His father shouts out to his servants, to place the best robes upon him, and a ring upon his finger, and shoes upon his feet. Then the father also says to kill the fatted calf and to eat and celebrate.
Luke 15:24 – For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
This same joy is promised to all of humanity that comes to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, for only through Him can God see them approaching His throne, and all of heaven will celebrate as they come to accept that God is their eternal Father.
The prodigal child, a deep dive into some parables from Jesus Christ (part four)