In the parable of the lost sheep, 1 out of 100 was lost (Luke 15:4)
In the parable of the coins, 1 our of 10. (Luke 15:8)
Then in the prodigal son, 1 out of 2.
What does this tell me? Well, it shows me that God wants to recover the lost whether he is part of a group of 2 or 100. No one is too small or insignificant in our Father's eyes. And when He finds the lost, He rejoices. He is neither angry nor bitter. No accusations, no "how could yous." Just unconditional love and restoration be it for the foolish sheep who wanders off, or a rebellious son.
When I read the story of the Prodigal Son, I always picture myself as the older son. In fact my own son told me this the other day. When his Dad comes home and he hears the garage, my son always jumps out of his chair and runs to meet him at the door with a very enthusiastic "HI, DAD!!!" I asked why he never does it with me. He said, "Mom, because you're always with me! Why are you being like the older brother in the Prodigal Son." Touché.
I now find myself switching places with my own father. I am now the parent, my Dad is the prodigal son who took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. (Luke 15:13b). I am praying that when my Dad finally comes to his senses home, that I would remember how the Father treated his son - with love and compassion. I imagine that father praying all the time during his son's absence that he would come to realize the error of his ways and return home. I imagine him looking over the horizon day after day awaiting his son's return - for how else could he have seen him from a distance if he was not looking for him? Luke 15:20 But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. I like that image of anticipation on the part of the father. I imagine God doing the same thing to those people who are lost or are not walking with Him, He looks out for a hint of repentance, a turning around. And when it happens, He doesn't even have to run.
He's already there.