I believe the prodigal son (see Luke 15) 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. Otherwise, why would he return to a man who would have been angry and vengeful, who would beat him and make him pay back every cent he squandered?
The prodigal surely knew that if he returned he wouldn’t be upbraided or condemned for his sins. He probably thought, “I know my father loves me. He won’t throw my sin in my face. He’ll take me back.” When you have that kind of history, you can always go back home.
Notice how the prodigal’s father “prevented” him with the blessing of goodness. The young man was intent on offering a heartfelt confession to his dad, because he rehearsed it all the way home. Yet when he faced his father, he didn’t even get a chance to fully confess. His father interrupted him by running up to him and embracing him.
“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” (Luke 15:20). The father was so happy his son was back, he covered him with kisses, saying, “I love you, son. Come home and be restored.”
The father did all of this before his son could complete his confession. The young man was able to blurt out the beginning of his speech. 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 are going to celebrate. Everyone rejoice, for my son is home!”
Sin wasn’t the issue to this father. The only issue on his mind was love. He wanted his boy 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).