(a repeat from 2006)
"Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him" (Luke 15:22).
Who is the recipient of "the best robe?"
Is it the Lord Jesus Christ upon His triumphant return to Heaven after He victoriously trampled sin, hell, and the grave under His nail-scarred feet? Or could it be David upon his coronation as the king of Israel? Or might it refer to an overcoming saint finally reaching glory after having lived an earthly lifetime of faith, obedience, and sacrifice for God and others?
While the Lord Jesus, David, and the godly believer are likely candidates for such Biblical affirmation, the truth is that they are not the subjects of this blessing. No, the best robe in this passage is reserved for one who expected nothing of the sort, and who would seem utterly unworthy of such exalted garb.
"And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. 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. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:15-24).
We are all guilty of having sinned against our Father, and wasted His inheritance to the degree that the odor of swine is our most appropriate garment. If we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, however, the best robe has been bestowed on us. It is the robe of our Savior's righteousness that is so effectual in redeeming us that God remembers no more our rejection of Him, or the degradation that led to our spiritual starvation. Indeed, He looks upon us and sees the robe, the best robe. And forevermore He relates to us as the loving Father of sons and daughters who were dead, and are alive again, who were lost, and are found.
Upon our arrival in Heaven, the extent of our Lord's redemption will be known in infinitely greater measure. The realization will take our breath away, and we will feel that we cannot bow low enough to adequately worship the Author and Finisher of our salvation. In this we will be correct, but we will also hear our Father's command that we stand so that the universe can view the Blood-washed garment of righteousness that we wear. For as we do, the glory of the Lord Jesus will shine forth from us in a splendor heretofore unknown, and the display of grace will begin that will require an eternity to fulfill...
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."