It was not a surprise to Jesus audience that the Father would behave in such a manner toward his son. The word compassion used here is the same word used in the Parable of the Good Samaritan when he saw the beaten man on the side of the road: he had compassion for him and helped him as much as he could. The term indicates the understanding and possibility that one who was previously considered dead could come alive again. There’re many people who say that the father’s behaviour was uncharacteristic for a Jewish father, that it was different to what could have been expected. But we have no reason to believe that that. There are many biblical accounts of parents doing all they can to help their children, and rejoicing over them. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus asks his audience, “Is there anyone among you, if his child asks for bread, will give him a stone?” It was not new news to Jewish audience that God loved his followers like a father loves a child – that they were his beloved children. God has always loved them, even the wayward; from David to Ephraim to Israel. Their history is soaked with this truth.