This is the Love That Went First

Date: December 8, 2022

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

It wasn’t really the pig pen that got to him. It was love.

The Prodigal Son of the Bible is well-known for demanding his inheritance, squandering it on wild living and ending up eating pig slop. He decides that being a servant in his father’s home would be an improvement and heads back home (Luke 15:11-32). Perhaps we’ve imagined that the prodigal’s heart was changed as he sat in the mud of the pig pen. But that’s not what brought him to true repentance, says Ernest Dagohoy.

In the prodigal’s story, we see a pattern of rebellion, ruin, repentance, reconciliation and finally, restoration.[1] We don’t have to go through ruin to get to repentance but, most of us seem to, in our own ways. We are called to Him, not by our misery but by His love that comes out to meet us, drawing us into confession and repentance. “We love,” 1 John 4:19 declares, “because he first loved us.”

“The prodigal repented in the truest sense of the word when his father met him at the edge of the village upon his return,” Dagohoy points out. “The father did not demonstrate love in response to the prodigal’s confession. Rather, out of his compassion, he emptied himself, assumed the form of a servant, and took the first step towards reconciliation with his wayward son.” [2]

God has taken the first step toward you. Is it time to come home?

[1] Cole, Edwin Louis. “Stolen Water Is Sweet.” A Man’s Guide to the Maximized Life: A Six-Week Journey to Greater Success, edited by Paul Louis Cole, Whitaker House, Kensington, PA, 2022.

[2] Dagohoy, Ernest. “Voices: When the Prodigal Son Really Repented.” Baptist Standard, 16 Nov. 2022,