“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him,
and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.”

Luke 15:22

Growing up at Emmanuel Faith, I’ve heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son innumerable times. I have no memory of when I first heard or read it. However, this was the first time I’d ever paid any attention to the father giving shoes to his son.

I’ve never had to worry about owning a pair of shoes. I’ve always had multiple for as long as I can remember and I’ve definitely never made a long journey while barefoot. The prodigal [son] probably never had to worry about shoes either . . . until he left his father. After he left and squandered all that he had, he became a servant and lost his shoes. I’m imagining the prodigal in the fields with the pigs, covered in filth from head to toe. His feet must have been disgusting. And that’s how he returns home to his father: ashamed, destitute, and barefoot.

In that day, only servants and slaves walked around barefoot. In many cases, this was so they couldn’t run away. The son returns home asking to be treated as such. But his father orders that he be given shoes, a symbol that this is his son and that he is to be fully restored into the family. You’d think he might wait till he’s cleaned up, but he doesn’t. And that’s exactly what God does for each of his children. Cleanliness doesn’t precede restoration. We come to him dirty, having been enslaved to our sins, and he covers us in his grace and forgiveness. That’s what makes us whole.

Looking at those shoes now, I realize that the father gave his son the ability to leave again. And as I look at my life, I can see how I’ve turned away from Jesus time and time again. But I’m comforted by his words to Paul when he states, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Jesus is always ready for us to turn towards him and his grace is abundant. Shoes aren’t designed for sitting around. They’re for walking. The question is, will we walk with him?

Daniel Rose
Production Director

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