The demand, need, and desire for grace is for nought unless we have some confidence about the response of grace. It is here in Luke 15:20-24 we make note of the response of grace, and it is glorious!
Verse 20 brings to our attention the reception of grace. It begins with the son acting upon what he had determined to do. "And he arose and came to his Father." He didn’t just think about taking action, he did take action. He returned to the very place where it had all went wrong.
While he headed in that direction he was not able to make it all the way before grace restores. "But when he was yet a great way off." He did not make it all the way back to the house. "His father saw him." It makes one think he was looking for him. Grace is always looking and hoping for restoration. Grace anticipates restoration.
The response of the Father is grand and glorious, "And had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." He assumed by his return that it was for restoration. If he had been returning for more he likely would have been disappointed. He was returning for less. He had come home!
He smelled worse than ever.
He was humiliated.
He was in rags.
He was a physical shell of what he had once been.
He returned and grace received.
In verse 21 we are afforded the opportunity to marvel at the recognition of grace. The son stated his understanding of the situation just as he had rehearsed. The gracious reception by his father probably made him realize even more how unworthy he was. He was not returning as a son, but as a supplicant seeking employment as a servant. As you will note he does not have a chance to speak the latter part of his resolve, “make me as one of thy hired servants.”
Then in verse 22 we see grace doing what it does best: Restoring!
"But" What an important word in Scripture! It is this very word that allows us to pivot from the desire for grace to the response of grace. Not being worthy is the perfect opportunity for grace. He did not return to be a son, but a servant. His father cut him off in mid sentence.
"The father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe and put it on him."
The best robe for the worst of sons! Grace!
Cover his shame and destitute state! Grace!
"And put a ring on his hand."
Ornamenting the hand that had been lifted up in rebellion against God and his Father! Grace!
Adorning the hand that had held the wine glass and embraced the harlot! Grace!
Beautifying the hand that had fed the swine! Grace!
"And shoes on his feet."
Restore his dignity. Grace
Then finally in verses 23 and 24 we relish in the rejoicing of grace.
"And bring hither the fatted calf and kill it: and let us eat it, and be merry."
Remove his remorse! Grace!
Restore his joy! Grace!
Supply his need! Grace!
"For this my son was dead." This tells us how the father viewed him. The alienation because of the boy’s rebellion was thorough.
"And is alive again." This tells us how the father viewed him. The restoration because of the boy’s repentance was thorough.
"He was lost, and is found." We always rejoice when we find lost things. Was lost, past tense. Is found, present tense. He is not what he was! Grace!
"And they began to be merry." This is a good and proper expression at the response of GRACE!