I’m drawn once again to the parable of the Prodigal Son. After a particularly useful study with friends on the story I’m struck by the terrible state of this errant man. He had been forced to take on a job of feeding pigs in a foreign country. The dreadful thing it was ‘pigs’. Any other animal would have been acceptable Pig were considered as unclean animals to the Jews.

When he decided to return home he would have been unshaven, straggly-haired and unclean. When one is starving there is no thought or provision for cleanliness. Having travelled across the desert for maybe a couple of days he would also have been dirt-stained and sweaty. This was the body that the father embraced. Muck from the son was transferred onto the father.

As the message of the story is that God represents the father and we sin-filled people are the son, it indicates that all our filth and dirt is transferred to God as He embraces us. We ate clean at a tremendous cost.