Extravagant Love


But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast…

~Luke 15:22-23


How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

~Stuart Townend

I’ve been preaching a series of messages from Luke 15 on Sunday mornings and I finish up this week {Lord willing} speaking on the extravagant love of the FATHER. When I first got into Luke 15 in my late 20’s or early 30’s, I majored on the Prodigal. After all, we know the story as the Parable of the Prodigal Son but over time I came to realize it is the Parable of the Prodigal Father. The word prodigal can mean wasteful but it can also mean extravagant. The more I study Luke 15, the more I am impressed with the FATHER’S extravagant love: really, extravagant is not a big enough word to describe his lavish love. Actually, there is no word in the English language or any language that can describe our Heavenly Father’s love because it is indescribable. When the Prodigal’s father went running to meet him, it put everyone is shock [inside the story and those listening]. His servants were probably thinking, “What is he doing?” In ancient Middle Eastern culture, everything was based on shame and honor and the father’s behavior was shameful.  In our culture here in the West, we think in terms of guilt or innocence or right and wrong. Easterners do not think this way.

The Elder brother was the good guy to the folks listening to the story. Although he was pretending, he didn’t do anything publicly to shame his father; at least not until the end. Jesus was speaking primarily to the Pharisees and they were appalled at the story and the actions of the father. His behavior was as shameful as the Prodigal’s. He should have punished his wayward son. Instead he forgave instantly and treated him as though he had never sinned. The boy was undeserving and everyone knew it, even the boy himself. He only hoped that his father was hire him a day servant: he never dreamed of being treated like a king. The father’s extravagant gifts were over the top. The Sandals were a sign of son ship, the robe signified nobility, the ring was a symbol of authority and party made the son the guest of honor. The father was treating his son the way a nobleman would treat a dignitary, even a king. What blew the Jews away was that the boy did not deserve any of these gifts: he had not earned them and unfortunately, they believed everything had to be earned.

This is what 99% of the population does not understand: we can never earn God’s favor. Everything is GRACE. The boy didn’t deserve the robe, ring, sandals or the party. Everything came from the good good Father who was waiting eagerly to forgive his son and express his extravagant love. Thank God for Dr. Luke and thank God for the gospel of Luke. Luke 15 may be the most pivotal chapter in the bible. It reminds us that God loves sinners. He stands ready to forgive all who will repent of their sins and turn to Christ. The inspired words of Stuart Townend say it best…That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.

  • Ken Blackwood called me at 9:06 am yesterday morning [Monday] and needed me to preach at the Pastor’s Conference. His speaker canceled at the last minute. I got to preach three times in less than 24 hours…Hallelujah!
  • Our new coon dog Buddy is doing good if we can just keep him off the Lawrence County Speedway which some know as Iron Man Road. You would not believe the traffic on this road, nor the speed that they travel. The coons won last night but we reloaded the traps. They got all my marsh mellows and even my honey bun in the live trap. Big Mama thought it was funny that I got out smarted by a coon.
  • Happy Birthday to Joe Fitzgerald [26] and Joyce Chaney [28]. There are some things I thought I would never live to see. Old Joe is about to catch me and Gregg.

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