When the Prodigal Son came back it was like he came back from the dead. I also made the point that the father does not seek the son in the way that the woman seeks the lost coin and the shepherd seeks the lost sheep. For the information of those who find the references here totally baffling, and the even smaller number who may be interested in finding out, the figures in the loghouse post form part of an internal narrative on the website (opensourcehteology.net), and represent contributors to the site at that time. We don’t need to allegorize the father, but in the story he is head of the family to which the son is restored, and I am inclined to think that that position is better occupied by Abraham than by God. In the Gospel the father represents God, the Ultimate Reality in Christianity, while the prodigal son is the individual living in sin who finally repents and returns to a personal relationship with God. The boy Jesus says that he must be in his Father’s house (Lk. John berates the crowds which come out to be baptized for claiming to have Abraham as their father. Why did Jesus instruct his disciples not to preach the kingdom of God to Gentiles and Samaritans? I read The Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur some time ago, and found his argument that Jesus portrays himself as the father in the story convincing. The rich will be brought down and excluded; the poor and weak will be lifted up and included. In Deuteronomy 30 God drives Israel into exile, Israel repents, and God gathers the outcasts from the ends of the earth. The father does nothing to bring the son home—other than to run out to welcome him. He, and his attitude, are as important as the younger brother. If they do not produce “fruits in keeping with repentance”, they will not escape the impending wrath of God against Israel (Lk. At every turn in the story the father’s response is totally unexpected. The father’s love is so recklessly generous that it allows for rebellion. In reply to Travis, yes, up to a point: by Andrew. The serial killer drama follows Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), son of Martin 'The Surgeon' Whitley (Michael Sheen), who as a child was responsible for enabling the police to arrest his father. This is the gist of Henri Nouwen’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal’: a wonderful autobiography, in which the author explores his own life as, in turn, prodigal, elder brother and eventually father-figure. I refer again to my Finnish loghouse post. Sorry Andrew. We mostly take it for granted, of course, that the father is God and that the central point of the story is that God forgives the repentant sinner. I think it much more likely that Jesus spoke prophetically to Israel with a fairly clear communicative intention in mind. It would have been wrong not to celebrate. There doesn’t need to be a condemnation of the older son, and he is certainly not commended for his hard work. That’s exactly what it is. By no means! But in the parable neither man ransoms his life and escapes death. Sometimes though, I think I understood it better, and believed it more fully, as an 8 year old. I don’t see what’s insensitive about labelling Nouwen’s interpretation as an “uncritical midrashic” re-reading. If all it was “about” was what it means/meant to belong to the family of Abraham at that time, then your reading has some force. He excludes himself. The Father says to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours” (15:31). As a matter of fact the discussion really clouds the issue. But I’m not convinced that either text accounts for the specific form or purpose of the parables. The amazing thing is that he never appreciated all that had been his in the father’s house, and it wasn’t through a failure of information, but a hardness of heart. When the son gets home, he says to his father, “I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Lk. He loses his son’s love. The question of keeping the commandments does not arise in connection with the younger son. In my estimation Andrew is spot on in reading this from the perspective of the intended audience. I’m of the opinion presently myself that Genesis is a product of exilic Judaism early on and all the stories are messianic themes of the redemption of not only the Jews but of the Gentiles as well. Divine Mercy Sunday: What's This Feast All About, Anyway? But there is enough there I think. Jesus acknowledges that the hard-working Pharisees are part of the family of Abraham. Its three main characters could be the stars of a TV series: The rich patriarch, his elder son, and his youngest—the wild child. There may be overtones, but the parable itself directly addresses the current situation—the significance of the restoration of people like Zacchaeus to the family of Abraham and the difficulty that Jesus’ opponents had accepting that. Categories: Love. The real question should always be “Which person (in this story) am I?”  In most cases (and indeed mine) it is the younger son. In my reading of Hebrew literature that indicates that Ishmael is not a spiritually dead lineage concerning the promise. over time on how he had been the younger (prodigal) son, the elder son and the father in the Gospel story. But the impact of Jesus’s teaching in the parables is, I think, more than that of retailing pedagogical instruction. The force of the story is then, in my opinion, lost, if we cease to consider our own reactions to what is taking place, and the conjectured reactions of Jesus’s audience, and allow the story to criticise us, as well as the original audience. The traditional interpretation of the parable is unable to explain what the son takes from God when he demands his share of the property. Ezekiel certainly had the same 2 groups in mind when he penned his reunification prophecy “Son of man, take a stick and write on it, “For Judah, and the people of Israel associated with him”; then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with him.” And join them one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. You are oversimplifying your response, and assuming uncritically that your point of view is absolute and exclusive. Key to this echo, I think, is “death and life.” Deut sets for life and prosperity and death and adversity; Yahweh set before them life and death: the son was dead and is now alive. One last point… It really does NOT matter who you think Jesus means to be “the father” as people on either side of this argument will end up in Heaven together and Jesus will give them both the answer. Progressive Christianity and the narrative-historical method. I take your point about allegorization, but the parable is told explicitly to address the objections of the Pharisees about Jesus eating with “tax collectors and sinners” (15:1-2). The rest of the father’s physical estate now belonged to the older brother upon his passing. The connection to Abraham is clear enough — God promised Abraham two things, a nation (Judah) and a company of nations (Joseph or the House of Israel) [Gen 35:11]. The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31) is a familiar one. The parable of the prodigal son is really a story explaining verse 10. The story of the regathering of the Jews and Paul’s exploration of it is a complex theme from the OT to be sure. Notice the 2 groups are distinct; the House of Judah separate from the House of Israel? Still think it much more likely that Jesus asks for in the parable of forgiveness! Israel, but with more than that of retailing pedagogical instruction assumption is particularly unsound in your reading of prodigal... 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