Is Jesus anywhere else in the New Testament called or likened to a father? The father’s love is so recklessly generous that it allows for rebellion. Does the argument work today? Has the body of Christ wandered off? 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. The Father has assigned to Jesus a kingdom, which he will in turn assign to his disciples (22:29). God is like the Father … In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we hear the son demand: “Father, give me the share of … When the son gets home, he says to his father, “I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Lk. True in this parable the son comes to himself but that flavor is in Deut as well: when you are in a foreign land and you seek for me. It would have been wrong not to celebrate. There is a strong element of self-seeking calculation-what Catholicism has traditionally called "imperfect contrition"-in his words, "treat me as one of your hired servants," a speech obviously designed just to get him a few decent meals! 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. Prodigal Son sees a fresh case each week (Image: SKY) Dr. Martin Whitly - Michael Sheen Fellow British actor Michael Sheen takes on the dark role of Malcolm’s serial killer father Dr Martin Whitly. But I have understood it, just in case you were wondering. Not only that, but we are talking exile, last days, resurrection. Jesus declared Zacchaeus a “son of Abraham”, saying that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”. 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. 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. We take as our text today the parable of the prodigal son. 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. One third of the story describes the older brother. But what was Jesus’s intention for the parable? He wanted his share of the inheritance, and he wanted it immediately. 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. That’s exactly what it is. The parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep are essentially stories of community celebration: the shepherd and the woman invite friends and neighbours to rejoice with them over the recovery of the thing lost; neither the shepherd nor the woman stands for God in the parable. 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. We all sin and move away from God. 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. 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. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham is presumably in heaven in some sense. What we see in the story of the Prodigal Son, therefore is a father who reflects both aspects of Divine Mercy: 1) His faithfulness to Himself, to His commitments as a Father to care for his children, and thus his "hesed," and 2) His passionate pity for His lost son's plight; in other words His "rahamim." Older and younger contain more than a hint of the old (historic national Israel), and the new (the people whom Jesus was gathering around himself as the reconstituted people of God). This is why the father reassured the older brother telling him that “everything I have is yours.” But the younger brother had been restored to fellowship. Perhaps, but this is a parable, and the details have a natural narrative justification. Did Jesus believe that Gentiles would be included in the renewed people of God? Divine Mercy 101: Elements of the Devotion. Of course, on another level, you could say that the younger is the church. It’s not a strict one-to-1. Let me know if I’m overlooking something. 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. There is no basis in Deuteronomy 30 for the critical distinction at the heart of the parable between the two sons. In reply to I took another look at this, by peter wilkinson. I took another look at this, and of course, your argument, Andrew, is more subtle than I have given credit for. Sometimes though, I think I understood it better, and believed it more fully, as an 8 year old. But there is enough there I think. over time on how he had been the younger (prodigal) son, the elder son and the father in the Gospel story. Nor does he send someone to seek the son. He confesses his sin against God and against his father and is immediately welcomed back into the family. Biblically at least, who the father is, and who the sons are is clear enough — but still subject to rejection. 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. He draws parallels between the story of Jacob and the parable of the prodigal son by Jesus. In your reading maybe. The older son is a lost son as well, and he too has turned away from his father. But in the parable neither man ransoms his life and escapes death. How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference. Up until this point in the parable, the prodigal son's repentance does not appear to be very genuine. 5. It’s a clever device. 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. So the Parable of the Prodigal Son should be called the Parable of the Prodigal Sons. On the small screen, Phillips was also a main cast member on the 2012 series Longmire. Perhaps, but this is a parable, and the details have a natural narrative justification. There are several things I saw in common between prodigal son parable and Josh. 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. It turns a three dimensional work of art into a rather flat two dimensional allegory. For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.’. I took a large size print of the painting to a Christian group in Finland four years ago, and spent a week teaching on it. 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. 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. In fact, there was a complete role reversal. 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. 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. The rich will be brought down and excluded; the poor and weak will be lifted up and included. If we too learn to frequently “play the role of the prodigal son,” we will receive God’s mercy. Son of Abraham, there was a complete role reversal a spiritually dead lineage concerning the.... The reversal of fortunes that will come about with the judgment and restoration of.! Brother is another OT motif at play was like he came back it was in the role of the father in the prodigal son father.! So as to make Israel jealous accounts for the critical distinction at the of! Of God has assigned to Jesus a kingdom, which he will in turn to... 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