There are so many parables. So many. I mean. They cover a huge range of things. Punishment! Judgement! Vindication! Forgiveness! But… There is one parable that stands out, shoulders above the rest. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a parable of Salvation. God’s unconditional love, grace, and mercy, in the context of salvation.
This parable is interesting in that we cannot see judgement in it. Or rather we cannot see HUMAN ideas about justice in it. Not in any way, shape, or form. In fact, we can ONLY find restorative justice in this parable. Only Restorative. Note that the prodigal NEVER got his confession out. He was forgiven by his father before he even got to the house. The father RAN to Him, shushed him, put a ring on his finger, and declared his son alive!
This is salvation. The forgiveness within this parable is forgiveness which happens IN SPITE of us. Regardless of whether or not we go and ask, we are already forgiven. To experience that forgiveness, we must go to the one who forgives, but even then, we are already forgiven in that instance, if they live by the father’s forgiveness. God doesn’t fold up His arms and say: “Now, what are you sorry for?” He shushes you and puts a ring on your finger, and new clothes on your back.
That is unconditional Love.
~The Christian Mystic