17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food enough to spare, but here I am dying from hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired workers.”’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. 21 Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
Pesikta Rabbati 184Midrash
A king had a son who had gone astray from his father on a journey of a hundred days. His friends said to him, “Return to your father.” He said, “I cannot.” Then his father sent word, “Return as far as you can, and I will come the rest of the way to you.” So God says, “Return to me, and I will return to you.”
Notes and References
"... Rabbinic literature, to which a number of commentators turn in order to find their negative depictions of the Prodigal Son’s Jewish context, actually offers a contrary view. Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.24 recounts a parable that opens with a citation from Deuteronomy 4.30, “You will return to the LORD your God.” It continues ... Pesikta Rabbati 184–85 (also) recounts ... For the rabbis, the challenge is not in seeing God’s love in a new way; the challenge—an inevitable challenge in every religious system—is to get the wayward to return ..."
Levine, Amy-Jill Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (pp. 69-70) HarperOne, 2014