Sometimes there is something that is designed to cause offence — such as the injustice of the workers in the vineyard, or the approval given to the shrewd manager, which should also give us offence. They never returned — at least not to the point of Josephus ( Antiquities of the Jews, 11.5.2 ). The motif of God as father has to do with the special status of Jesus and his disciples, especially insofar as they are weak, vulnerable, and exposed to hostility: they are assured that their Father will be with them as they go through suffering for the sake of the coming kingdom and will finally vindicate them. “He became angry, and refused to go in”. That is as true today as it was in his own time and context. which I raised in the said post here, and did not feel were totally satisfactorily answered. It turns a three dimensional work of art into a rather flat two dimensional allegory. There’s no point in me repeating them. :-), http://krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/2006/01/luke_15_kenneth…, Notice was Jeremiah says in [Jer 31:31] “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I shall make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah …”. The issue addressed in the Lazarus story is not the scandal of table fellowship but the fact that the Pharisees are “lovers of money” (Lk. That might be true if you’re not a first century Jew or if you lack any sense of connection to the historical conditions under which the Christian movement was formed. No. The details of the story are adaptable of course. In Deuteronomy 30 God drives Israel into exile, Israel repents, and God gathers the outcasts from the ends of the earth. After his son leaves, the father must be in agony, wondering and concerned every day what his son might be doing and what trouble he is getting into. The setting for this parable is provided in Luke 15:1-2, where we find the Pharisees and scribes deriding Jesus for receiving and eating with sinners. Does the argument work today? LOS ANGELES: Academy and Tony Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones is set to star in a leading role on the upcoming second season of Fox's 'Prodigal Son'. The series centers on Malcolm Bright, whose father, Martin Whitly, is the infamous serial killer known as "The Surgeon". It was just a few weeks after my own father died. The prodigal is the repentant Christian, the older son is the Pharisee or the Jewish people, and the father is God. Maybe it fits within that framework of understanding. When the son gets home, he says to his father, “I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Lk. But a false identification may also take place. For the obsessively inclined, yet another post on the parable from opensourcetheology.net, the progenitor of postost.net, can be found here (23.12.2008). Travis, yes, up to a point: they are part of the general background of ideas. Did Jesus believe that Gentiles would be included in the renewed people of God? But I have understood it, just in case you were wondering. 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. In the Sutra the father is Buddha (or more specifically, the Buddha nature - Dharmakaya), while the son is the individual struggling to become an enlightened bodhisattva being. The parable of the prodigal son is really a story explaining verse 10. So I would suggest that the parable of the prodigal son is essentially of the same type as the parable of the rich man and Lazarus: it is a story about what it means to belong to the family of Abraham at a time of eschatological crisis. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." But let us leave that for another discussion. If we too learn to frequently “play the role of the prodigal son,” we will receive God’s mercy. Prodigal Son (TV Series 2019– ) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. 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. The real question should always be “Which person (in this story) am I?”  In most cases (and indeed mine) it is the younger son. Notice the 2 groups are distinct; the House of Judah separate from the House of Israel? I have argued that this is a parable about the reversal of fortunes that will come about with the judgment and restoration of Israel. Considering the background of a biblical passage often helps us to better understand its meaning, and this is indeed the case with this parable of the prodigal son. Of the thirty-or-so parables in the canonical Gospels, this parable was one of four that were shown in medieval art—along with that of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, the Dives and Lazarus, and the Good Samaritan—almost to the exclusion of the others, though not mixed in with the narrative scenes of the Life of Christ. But then your comment: doesn’t the older son’s claim that he has never disobeyed his father’s “command” evoke Pharisaic adherence to the Law of God? The “little flock” of disciples should not be afraid, for “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (12:32). 3. In his reading, the older brother is dealt with tenderly, even sympathetically, because it is himself. By no means! The parables: Jesus was just being obtuse, Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants: an exercise in narrative-historical hermeneutics, The parable of the good Samaritan and the plight of Israel, Make for yourselves friends of unrighteous mammon: the parable of the self-serving business manager, So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you: the parable of the unforgiving slave, The parable of the wedding feast and the man without a wedding garment, Discipleship and ethics in the New Testament church, How beautiful on the mountains were the feet of Jesus. But the impact of Jesus’s teaching in the parables is, I think, more than that of retailing pedagogical instruction. It seems to me unlikely that with two prominent father-figures already in his Gospel Luke would cast Jesus as a father in the story. In the context of the Gospels the younger son is not more in exile than the older son—certainly not if we take Wright’s view. So the fatherhood of Abraham motif belongs to the dispute with the Pharisees and others over the grounds for participation in the people of God at a time of eschatological crisis. The father grieved the loss of the Prodigal Son during his absence. The older son is the Jealous Jew derived from Abraham while the Gentile story is found in Ishmael.Who else goes off and eats with the pigs? The fatherhood of God in Luke is essentially a discipleship theme—it defines the relationship of the disciples to God, derived from their relationship to Jesus, as they followed the narrow path of suffering that would lead to life in the age to come. The disciples are to pray, “Father, hallowed be your name…” (11:2). 19:8-10). I find the charges you bring against alternative readings to your own, which hold yours up to criticism, untrue and insensitive. Each one of us can relate in some way to the parable Jesus told about a prodigal son, his father, and his older brother. 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. If necessary, “God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham”. The message of the Psalm is only that rich and poor, wise and foolish must all die in the end and go down to the grace. In Gethsemane Jesus prays that his Father will take the cup of suffering from him (22:42); from the cross he prays that his Father will forgive his executioners and receive his spirit (23:34, 46). It also highlights Ishmael in a very prominent Jewish manner that is expected to be noticed significantly. He draws parallels between the story of Jacob and the parable of the prodigal son by Jesus. 4 Halston Sage Playing Ainsley, Malcolm's younger sister and an ambitious TV news reporter is Halston Sage. The “tax collectors and sinners” have become alienated from the commonwealth of Israel; they have become like Gentiles. In Prodigal Son, he plays Gil Arroyo, the officer who arrested Malcolm's father and a long-time friend, confidant, and father figure to Malcolm. https://heavy.com/entertainment/2019/09/the-prodigal-son-meaning-plot 3:7-9). As ever, we have to take into account the probable immediate context, in terms of guessing the identities of those whom Jesus was addressing. In your reading maybe. Brad, I don’t have his book to hand. The distinction appears to be consistently maintained. The servant explains to the older son that his brother has returned and that his father has killed the fattened calf “because he has received him back safe and sound” (15:27). I think it much more likely that Jesus spoke prophetically to Israel with a fairly clear communicative intention in mind. (Luke 15:11-32) First, there is the son who was restless and driven to experience whatever sinful pleasures money could buy. Divine Mercy 101: Elements of the Devotion. These Jewish religious leaders of the first century did not think it was appropriate for a godly person to interact in such ways with t… The parable of the prodigal son has three main characters, the kind and forgiving father who remains the same throughout the parable is a picture of God and Jesus. Who is the father in the parable of the prodigal son? Similarly when Jesus says “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. That assumption is particularly unsound in your reading of this parable. All I’m asking is that we do not confuse uncritical midrashic re-readings such as Nouwen’s or Kester Brewin’s—no matter how “wonderful” or provocative they may be—with exegesis. But there is no condemnation of the older son in the parable and certainly nothing is withheld from him. First, in the beginning, there was a “victim” mindset against God. If the father is Abraham, the son takes his share in his Jewish heritage or in the promises made to the patriarchs and squanders it. We take as our text today the parable of the prodigal son. We know how it goes: The wild child takes off with his plentiful inheritance to enjoy life. Dr. John said that evil itself is the “prodigal son,” which has left its father’s house (living in the presence of God). over time on how he had been the younger (prodigal) son, the elder son and the father in the Gospel story. 16:22-24). I did once get bitten by a dog, whilst delivering leaflets for my church, but that’s another story. The emphasis is entirely on the fact that the son has been restored to the family. Abraham is given an active speaking role on the rich man and Lazarus story. Since the parables come one after the other and have the same sequence of lost, found and celebration, it’s not too outlandish to think the shepherd, the woman and the father refer to the same seeker/redeemer. The younger son had wasted his share of the estate on sinful rebellion. I don’t think he was saying to the Pharisees, “Here’s an interesting story, make of it what you will.”. In what sense was the kingdom of God “in the midst of” the Pharisees? New Testament eschatological texts categorised by horizon, The narrative architecture of Jesus’ apocalyptic discourse in Mark 13, How Paul can proclaim one Lord Jesus Christ and not compromise Jewish monotheism, How the context makes sense of the separation of the “sheep” and “goats” at the parousia. I’m just pleased that, perhaps in ways you had not intended, Rembrandt is being included in the discourse. The three stories in Luke 15 are told because the Pharisees and scribes had grumbled (diegonguzon) about the fact that Jesus was receiving tax collectors and sinners and eating with them. The rich man in Hades still appeals to his father Abraham. There are some potential sticking points: I wonder whether we should expect Abraham to be characterized in quite such a vivid and dynamic fashion; and doesn’t the older son’s claim that he has never disobeyed his father’s “command” evoke Pharisaic adherence to the Law of God? Rom 9:6-8  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. …the elder brother, who is not a representative of righteous Israel, but rather self-righteous Israel, from whom the kingdom was withheld. It is important to note that nothing is said about forgiveness, though it is often interpreted as a parable of divine forgiveness. That doesn’t mean it’s valueless. 13:16). At every turn in the story the father’s response is totally unexpected. I should point out that the exposition of the parable in the Finnish loghouse in relation to Rembrandt’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal’ can only be made if the exegesis of the preceding posts which I have offered in this comment is accepted as correct. 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. We normally associate prodigal with the son, and rightfully so; however, something pretty amazing happens if we associate this word with the father and his grace. The latter is a thinly veiled representation of Andrew. 2. Since “heaven” is an indirect reference to God, it is difficult to understand why the son would express himself in this way if, in Jesus’ mind, the father stood for God. By the way, Nouwen’s reading falls well within the bounds of the exegetically permissible, if reader-response is taken to be the way the parable works — through identification/disapproval. As long-time readers of this Journal know, Dr. John used the Parable of the Prodigal Son as a metaphor for the presence of evil on the physical planet Earth. The Father says to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours” (15:31). John berates the crowds which come out to be baptized for claiming to have Abraham as their father. From an exegetical point of view, however, modern literary sentiments are irrelevant. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham is presumably in heaven in some sense. There are several things I saw in common between prodigal son parable and Josh. The wretched Lazarus is carried by angels to the side of “Father Abraham” after his death; the rich man calls out from Hades, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame” (Lk. When Jesus gets in trouble with the ruler of a synagogue for healing a woman who had suffered from a “disabling spirit for eighteen years”, he argues, “ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (Lk. Jesus tells the story to the scribes and Pharisees precisely to explain the difference between them and the “sinners” with whom he associates. While the focus of the first two parables (maybe all three) is the celebration over what is lost and then found, that could surely mirror the celebrations Jesus was attending with the tax collectors et al, which were the celebrations with which the Pharisees took issue. 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. Early in the 20th century, several of the popes called the world back to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A happy disappointing Christmas to everyone! In my estimation Andrew is spot on in reading this from the perspective of the intended audience. When the Prodigal Son came back it was like he came back from the dead. 3. It would have been wrong not to celebrate. The son’s attitude does not change, and neither did the Pharisees’. Neither is God. He loses his son’s love. I don’t see what’s insensitive about labelling Nouwen’s interpretation as an “uncritical midrashic” re-reading. In Deuteronomy 30 God is not described as “father” to Israel. 2:49). In my reading of Hebrew literature that indicates that Ishmael is not a spiritually dead lineage concerning the promise. 4. Sorry Andrew. I have pointed out before that this is not a story about personal salvation by grace rather than by works—the younger son rejoins a family which still includes the older hard-working son; and I recommend reading this post in conjunction with the earlier one. 2. But first it is always helpful to determine original audience relevance before doing so. I do see comletely what you are wishing to demonstrate about the parable, viewing it through the lens of the ‘coming eschatological crisis’ which you describe. I also feel there were problems with the former post alluded to -, that this is not a story about personal salvation by grace rather than by works—the younger son rejoins a family which still includes the older hard-working son. The rest of the father’s physical estate now belonged to the older brother upon his passing. The story of the regathering of the Jews and Paul’s exploration of it is a complex theme from the OT to be sure. The first time the father goes in search of something that is missing and lost is when he goes out from the party to find his oldest son and plead with him to come in. Still I do see Gentiles in the mix of these parables that Jesus is presenting because some like the tax collector are called “sinners” who aren’t really Jews from their inclusive vantage point. You are by peter wilkinson. Inadmissible? I can see that the Psalm may be part of the general Wisdom background to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. You are oversimplifying your response, and assuming uncritically that your point of view is absolute and exclusive. But there is enough there I think. But in the parable neither man ransoms his life and escapes death. Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy. We are the Prodigal son. I think we need to be sensitive to the literary force of Jesus’s teaching in this parable, and others, which I think breaks the boundary of simple historical allegory. They have a way of tripping us up, finding us out, and coming back and biting us. The son repents of his recklessness and returns. Israel fails in Deuteronomy 30 because it does not keep the commandments; restoration means that Israel “shall again obey the voice of the LORD and keep all his commandments that I command you today” (30:8). Podcast: Talking with Lynsey and Stuart Gilmour about an “alternative” approach to mission in Scotland, Podcast: The ends of the ages: church in the Anthropocene, The three horizons of New Testament eschatology, Jesus and the restoration of Israel according to Matthew. It is a wonderful and encouraging story of a father finding what was lost and rejoicing over the return of his son. The mercy and grace shown in this would be seen in a slightly different way by Jews, gentiles, Romans, and even 21st century Americans or Africans. On the small screen, Phillips was also a main cast member on the 2012 series Longmire. Its three main characters could be the stars of a TV series: The rich patriarch, his elder son, and his youngest—the wild child. I still think it reduces a superb literary tour de force, which leaps from its context to other contexts, as described, to something bland and of antiquarian interest only. The main idea, however, of forgiveness, and being restored will shine through to everyone. The prodigal (now called “Christian”) began to consider himself the favorite son and persecuted his older brother in whatever country he lived in. Identifying the father as ‘God’ might be a problem, albeit a slight one. The younger son symbolizes sinners and the older brother bring the religious leaders and the Pharisees. 15:32). 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. In reply to Brad, I don’t have his book by Andrew, In the meantime here’s a pretty good overview of some of Bailey’s work from Michael Kruse, who is obviously a fan of Bailey’s work. Arguably, they should be comparing their lives with the older brother, which is what most become, or tend to become. You’re entitled to see things differently. The father represents God the Father for He gladly receives His son as part of His family. I’m sorry I’m not contributing to the promotion of the viewpoint. 118: Call Me Ishmael, Part 2  by James B. Jordan   June, 1999, http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical-horizons/no-118-call-me-ishmael-part-2/, In reply to Some of you might want to by norman. There is clearly a criticism of the Pharisees in the person of the elder brother, who is not a representative of righteous Israel, but rather self-righteous Israel, from whom the kingdom was withheld. There is no basis in Deuteronomy 30 for the critical distinction at the heart of the parable between the two sons. There is also a nod to the sinners whom Jesus was attracting to himself, in the person of the younger brother. To become called or likened to a point: they are part of the stories! Already in his Gospel Luke would cast Jesus as a 501 ( c (. Arrogant and say it: God is not a representative of righteous,. Pharisees perfectly to what they saw Jesus doing parable, the Trappist ( myself and. Turns a three dimensional work of art into a rather flat two dimensional allegory in story. 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