What Jesus Did! 'While a Long Way Off' — Luke 15:20-24

Friday, September 15, 2023

[Continuing the tale of the two sons, Jesus said, "So the younger son who had wasted all his money in wild living] returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'

"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, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began."

Note: This passage continues the third story (Luke 15:11-32) that Jesus told about the joy of recovering something or someone that is lost. The other two stories are Luke 15:3-7 and Luke 15:8-10.
— Luke 15:20-24 NLT

Key Thought

I love the sentence, "And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming." The father was longing for his son to return. He was waiting for his son to return. He was ready for his son to return. He was watching for his son to return. In the same way, our Father in heaven is filled with love and compassion for us. He sees our hearts and runs to meet us when we turn our hearts toward home — no matter how far we may have strayed. How far is your heart from the Father? I'm not talking about how things look on the outside to others. The Father's concern is with your heart. Is it turned toward him? Is it open and honest with him about your rebellion and sin? He is not looking to punish you, but to bring you home [1] — to bring you back to life, to have the welcome-home party begin.

[1] John 3:16-17, 14:2-3.

Today's Prayer

Loving God, compassionate Father, thank you for knowing me and loving me. Look into my heart and examine my innermost thoughts and the things that I have done. I am sorry for my sin that you see there. Help me recognize my sins and change my ways through your strength and guidance. Thank you for making me a welcome child in your house and drawing me close to you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Psalm 51:1-4
  • Psalm 139:23-24
  • Psalm 33:20-22


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Illustration of Luke 15:20-24 NLT — "So the younger son who had wasted all his money in wild living] returned home to his father."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.