The Bible says, “When [the prodigal] was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. . . . The father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry” (Luke 15:20-23).
I believe the Prodigal Son came home because of his history with his father. This young man knew his father’s character—and apparently he had received great love from him. He must have known that if he returned, he would not be upbraided or condemned for his sins.
Notice how the Prodigal’s father received him in spite of his pitiful condition. The young man was intent on offering a heartfelt confession to his dad. Yet, when he faced his father, he didn’t get a change to fully confess because his father interrupted him by running up to him and embracing him.
The young man was able to blurt out only the beginning of his speech, saying, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son” (Luke 15:21). But his father didn’t wait for him to finish. To him, the young man’s sin had already been settled. The father’s only response was to issue an order to his servants: “Put a robe on my son and rings on his fingers. Prepare a feast, because we’re going to celebrate. Let everyone rejoice—my son is home!” The father knew his son’s heart and he knew he had fully repented.
Sin was not the issue to this father. The only issue in his mind was love. He wanted his son to know he was accepted even before he could utter a confession. And that is the point God wants to make to us all: His love is greater than all our sins. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4).