“Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate” (Lu 15:23).
In biblical times, well-to-do families would reserve selected calves for special occasions of joyous and lavish celebration. In this particular parable, we understand that the wayward lad’s father had always expected his son to return home someday–hence the advance provision for when sanity would prevail. If only our wandering brothers and sisters out there would realise the incredible longing heaven has for their return to God! Angels are literally waiting with abated breath for the arrival of one more forlorn sinner to salvation’s banqueting table. Interestingly, the word translated celebrate (Gk euphrainō) carries the sense of deliberate and sensible festivities, quite distinct from the world’s wanton and reckless orgies. In God we have fun that leaves your dignity intact. There’s a freedom with responsibility and fellowship with respect. Oh how I love the Gospel of grace! May all our neighbours, friends and family who are sick and tired of the burden of sin come to this holy heavenly party!