In verses 14-16 we had considered the need for grace. Fortunately for the prodigal son the need for grace resulted in the desire for grace in verses 17-19.
Verse 17 we discover the return of reason. "And when he came to himself." He repented. He had been wrong. It has cost him immensely. "He said, how many hired servants of my Father’s have bread enough and to spare." The servants were now living better than the son.
"And I perish with hunger!" He realizes his utter desperation and the destitute condition to which he had fallen. It need not be this way. Having come to himself he believed his father would have mercy and extend grace!
The return of reason prompted a determined action in verse 18. "I will arise and go to my father." He determined to go to his Father because he heard the voice of his father. I will return. I will move in the other direction.
He rehearsed his words, "And will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee." This is quite a contrast to his last recorded words to his Father in verse 12, "Father give me the portion of goods that falleth unto me." His sin was against heaven and before his father. His father had seen him disobey God.
A humble spirit develops in this arrogant, rebellious son in verse 19. His words reflect the sincerity and depth of his humility, "And am no more worthy to be called thy son." This is so true! He was no longer worthy. He had troubled his father. He had disrespected his father. He had anguished his father. He had discounted his father. It is precisely because he was no longer worthy that the stage has been set for an expression of GRACE!
The humility is complete, "Make me as one of thy hired servants" he would say to his father. He would not request to be restored to full honor. He simply wanted to be numbered among the servants. True repentance is willing to bear the consequences of sin. Repentance does not demand it implores.
Here was a young man who, having been cast down from the high status that accompanies much money to the low station of feeding and feasting with pigs has finally brought his heart in line with his reality! He is low, he now recognizes it and he starts to ponder GRACE!