Our Devotion for today is taken from: Amazing Grace Devotions for Lent by Michael Hoy.
17 But when he came to himself he said, "How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;
SURPRISED BY GRACE
The prodigal son in Jesus’ well-known parable has wasted his life and reached rock bottom. Without even daily bread, he recalls how servants enjoyed the plenty of his father’s household. He is determined to come back to his father and confess his sin. The prodigal’s first surprise comes in his father’s haste of grace toward him. For even while this prodigal is a far distance from home, his father sees him quickly runs to him with great compassion to embrace and kiss him.
But there’s more to this surprise. By the time the returned child can barely get the words of confession out of his mouth, the father has already sent for the best robes to replace his tattered rags, sandals for his bare feet and a ring as the emblem of his restored sonship. This child is surprised by grace. And it is far greater than he could possibly imagine. In God’s kingdom, all prodigals are restored to being the children of their loving Father.
Many of us have heard the story of the prodigal son, some of us, countless times. The parable offers us an opportunity for self-examination on the nature, depth, and motivation for our relationship with God. Whether we are the prodigal that squanders or the eldest son who envies and broods, we are forced to ask ourselves: Why have I chosen relationship with God? Both sons, as we often do, underestimate their fathers grace and forgiveness. The prodigal son racked with shame, feels himself unworthy of his father’s grace and forgiveness. The eldest son, consumed with jealousy and judgment, feels his younger brother should have to earn the father’s grace and forgiveness. What Jesus teaches us with this parable is the depth of God’s grace and love for us, that cannot be measured nor fully understood. God’s grace is extended to us, not because of who we are or what we do, but simply because God chooses to grant it to us. May each day of lent find us living in grateful appreciation for the unmerited grace God has and continues to show us.
Father, we have sinned, but we trust your surprising and surpassing grace. Amen.