Study 1 THE SUPER-ABUNDANCE OF GOD’S SUPPLY
BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Luke 15: 11-24)
When the Prodigal Son came to his senses he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” It was as though he said, ‘What a fool I am!’ He decided to return to his father, and soon discovered that his father was waiting to give him a lavish welcome. The words which form the title of this series of studies remind us of the super-abundance of God’s supply, the fact that in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, we have all that we need for time and for eternity. There is “bread enough and to spare” (John 6:35,48,50,51,57,58). What was the supply that awaited the prodigal if only he would return home? What is the super-abundance of supply that God has for every prodigal who returns to the Father’s house? What kind of welcome does God give to the sinner?
1. The welcome of grace (verse 20)
We learn that when we return from a distant country to the Father’s house, the Father sees us, has compassion and runs to meet us. This is the welcome of grace which awaits every repentant sinner; just as the father was waiting for the prodigal and watching for him, and then ran out to embrace him, so God waits for us to return to Him. This is what God’s grace is – His overflowing love which we do not deserve. In this verse we see the eyes of mercy, in the word “saw”; the heart of mercy, in the word ”compassion”; the feet of mercy, in the word “ran”; the arms of mercy, in the words “threw his arms around him”; and the lips of mercy, as the father “kissed” his son.
2. The kiss of reconciliation (verse 20)
The father smothered the prodigal with kisses. In the East, kissing is a token of forgiveness and a pledge of reconciliation, and here we see a boy who had been estranged from his father, being forgiven and becoming reconciled to his father - look up and compare Ephesians 2:12-19. What wonderful supplies the father had for his son! First, he waited to give him the welcome of grace, and he gave him the kiss of pardon and of reconciliation.
3. The robe of righteousness (verse 22)
The father told his servants to “bring the best robe”. Much as he loved his boy, he could not receive him as he was, in his rags and tatters - and the same is true with us. God cannot receive us as we are (Isaiah 64:6). How can a sinful man live in fellowship with a holy God? When we get up and take a few steps towards the Father’s house He welcomes us, first of all placing upon us the robe of righteousness (Romans 3:22). It is only when we are wearing this robe that we are acceptable and able to enter into the further blessings of the Father’s home - look up and compare Isaiah 61:10; Matthew 22:1-4. The super-abundance of God’s supply! - the welcome, the kiss, the robe.
4. The ring of sonship (verse 22)
The father said to the servants, “… Put a ring on his finger”. The boy was prepared to be a hired servant, but this would not satisfy the father. He was his son and he must be reinstated as a son, so the ring was a symbol of this. How wonderful it is that we, who were enemies, are by God’s grace actually the sons of God! (1 John 3:1). Not only that, but ”if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:14-17). We have been born of the Spirit (John 3:5); sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14); and we have been made members of the royal family of Heaven (Ephesians 3:15).
5. The shoes of service (verse 22)
The prodigal had been in the service of the Devil, and what a cruel master he is! - as a result he had lost everything. He had even lost the sandals he walked in! But now he was going to be a loving son to his father, and so the wanderer was fitted with shoes so that he could walk in a way well-pleasing to his father - look up and compare Romans 10:15; Ephesians 2:10; 4:1; 4:17; 5:15; 6:15.
6. The calf of satisfaction (verse 23)
The father said to the servants, “Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.” The fattened calf speaks to us of the satisfaction that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Can you imagine that the prodigal ever wanted to return to the distant country once he had set eyes on the fattened calf? Of course not! There is one thing that man lost because of sin, and that the prodigal lost when he left home, and the one thing that the Lord Jesus died to restore to each one of us - fellowship with the Father!
7. The joy of fellowship (verses 23 and 24)
We hear the father saying, “‘Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” But what are the important words in these two verses? – the words “Let us” in verse 23 and ”they” in verse 24. They speak of fellowship. The boy was now back with his father, eating with him, and they were together rejoicing in restored, renewed, holy fellowship.
If you are not yet a Christian this study will help you to see that God’s supply is super-abundant and awaits you if you will come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour; and if you are a Christian, you will rejoice that in Jesus Christ there is ”food to spare”!