Monday, March 28, 2011

The Prodigal God

You know the story of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  It is not right to single out only one of the sons as the sole focus of the story.  Even Jesus doesn't call it the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but begins the story saying, "a man had two sons."  The narrative is as much about the elder brother as the younger, and as much about the father as the sons.  And what Jesus says about the older brother is one of the most important messages given to us in the Bible.  The parable might be better called the Two Lost Sons.
The word 'prodigal' does not mean 'wayward', it means 'recklessly spendthrift-to spend until you have nothing left.  Two men in the parable are prodigal; the father and the youngest son.  The father, who represents God, demonstrates His reckless grace for His people.
This parable was spoken by Christ with his aim to the Pharisees and scribes.  They are the eldest brother he was referring to-they are the target of this parable.  He wants to show them their blindness, narrowness, and self-righteousness.  Can you image how enraged they must have been to listen to this rabbi?
This book by Timothy Keller walks through this famous parable from all angles.  I find myself convicted of my Pharisitical attitude and my deep shame of being the one to challenge my father and demand 'my rights.'

Put this on your reading list...

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