You are oversimplifying your response, and assuming uncritically that your point of view is absolute and exclusive. I refer again to my Finnish loghouse post. It should offend us today, and if it hasn’t, the story has been inadequately understood. I’ve given my reasons for reading the parable the way I do. Categories: Love. In reply to I took another look at this, by peter wilkinson. In his reading, the older brother is dealt with tenderly, even sympathetically, because it is himself. Driving him further and further from experiencing his Father’s love. Jesus tells the story to the scribes and Pharisees precisely to explain the difference between them and the “sinners” with whom he associates. The fact that he leaves the story with that invitation makes you wonder how many of them responded… although having him arrested and persuading the Romans to execute him certainly makes an interesting alternative ending to the story. Nor does he send someone to seek the son. But in the parable neither man ransoms his life and escapes death. 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. 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]. 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. Abraham is given an active speaking role on the rich man and Lazarus story. 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. Next time I’m in a library…. The narrative-historical method—an outline, Some rough and ready “rules” for doing a narrative-historical reading of the New Testament. The parable of the prodigal son clearly fits the first category of “father” sayings much better than the second—it is a story not about discipleship but about, Theological terms in narrative-historical perspective, Synopsis of N.T. He honors the outrageous request of the younger son and gives him his inheritance. It turns a three dimensional work of art into a rather flat two dimensional allegory. 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. It’s hard not to see this connection between the Lost sheep of the House of Israel and the Prodigal Son when Jesus says “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” [Luke 15:6] sounding very much like ” For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” [Luke 15:24] especially given Micah’s comments in [Mic 2:12] “I shall surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I shall gather the remnant of Israel; I shall set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men.”. I agree that the story is a polemic, or dramatic parabolic criticism, but with more than a little reader-response thrown in. The father grieved the loss of the Prodigal Son during his absence. The emphasis is entirely on the fact that the son has been restored to the family. We know there was emnity between these two sons [2 Kings 16:6]. 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 certainly don’t see how Jesus could have the Gentiles in view. Thanks for the reply. The main theme of the parable deals more with the father than the son, although we may often view the parable from perspective of the son. In fact, there was a complete role reversal. Jesus acknowledges that the hard-working Pharisees are part of the family of Abraham. 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. 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. As a child, Malcolm was responsible for enabling the police to arrest his father, and has not seen his father in ten years after joining Quantico. How long did Judah stay in Babylon [2 Kings 20:17]? 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. 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). Hosea also saw the reunion Ezekiel saw “And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head.” [Hos 1:11]. Kester Brewin just seems bizarre. By Amy Sparkman. Divine Mercy Sunday: What's This Feast All About, Anyway? You’re entitled to see things differently. Such interpretations not only yank the parable out of its historical context, they lessen the message of Jesus and bear false witness against Jews and Judaism. But on a bumpy flight down to the south of France a couple of days ago I began to think there may also be grounds for questioning the traditional attribution of paternity. Norman, thanks for the comments and the links. He convinced me that indeed it was Abraham as the model and it gave new insight in how to discern Paul’s Romans 9-11 also in my estimation. The parable of the prodigal son makes the same point: “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found” (Lk. 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. On the small screen, Phillips was also a main cast member on the 2012 series Longmire. The contrasting treatment of older and younger in the story form two-thirds of the story’s emphasis. John berates the crowds which come out to be baptized for claiming to have Abraham as their father. The son’s attitude does not change, and neither did the Pharisees’. 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. In reply to Sorry Andrew. 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). He returned to the father begging for his forgiveness and acknowledging his sin. The other third is the father. 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 parable of the prodigal son begins by introducing three characters: a father and his two sons. 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). The Father says to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours” (15:31). The rich will be brought down and excluded; the poor and weak will be lifted up and included. Each one of us can relate in some way to the parable Jesus told about a prodigal son, his father, and his older brother. God is like the Father … 15:21). 2. Jesus declared Zacchaeus a “son of Abraham”, saying that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”. 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. Could you please help me understand the practical consequences…? The distinction appears to be consistently maintained. Prodigal Son (TV Series 2019– ) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Perhaps, but this is a parable, and the details have a natural narrative justification. 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. 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. 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. 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). As I hope you know, the story is about a father with two sons. Biblically at least, who the father is, and who the sons are is clear enough — but still subject to rejection. I don’t think Kester Brewin’s re-reading is valueless—it’s just not what the historical Jesus intended. These parables have a way of inviting identification with (or disapproval of) a person or persons in the story, which then may come back and bite us. How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference. It turns a three dimensional work of art into a rather flat two dimensional allegory. Of course, on another level, you could say that the younger is the church. 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? 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. In Middle Eastern culture, running was considered shameful. Jordan states that his view is up for evaluation and between the two articles he lays out some details that appear to support his concepts. …the elder brother, who is not a representative of righteous Israel, but rather self-righteous Israel, from whom the kingdom was withheld. That assumption is particularly unsound in your reading of this parable. Perhaps, but this is a parable, and the details have a natural narrative justification. 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. For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.’. In Deuteronomy 30 God drives Israel into exile, Israel repents, and God gathers the outcasts from the ends of the earth. Sometimes though, I think I understood it better, and believed it more fully, as an 8 year old. And he organizes a joyful feast and gladly restores to him his lost status. 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'. He loses his son’s love. When the son gets home, he says to his father, “I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Lk. These would be my reservations: 1. I find the charges you bring against alternative readings to your own, which hold yours up to criticism, untrue and insensitive. Dr. John said that evil itself is the “prodigal son,” which has left its father’s house (living in the presence of God). (The Labourers in the Vineyard also appears in Early Medieval works.) I’d have thought that the ‘father/son’ motif, especially in the life of Jesus, is as much, if not more, to do with divine privilege and messianic promise (from 2 Samuel 7 — v13, and Psalm 2 — v7 especially) than protection of the weak and vulnerable. But I have understood it, just in case you were wondering. The rich man in Hades still appeals to his father Abraham. 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. It is a wonderful and encouraging story of a father finding what was lost and rejoicing over the return of his son. He wanted his share of the inheritance, and he wanted it immediately. But let us leave that for another discussion. I think it’s a stretch to make the father in the story into an Abraham figure, and of course Abraham is never mentioned. If they do not produce “fruits in keeping with repentance”, they will not escape the impending wrath of God against Israel (Lk. The father has devoted his life to his family, but the prodigal son’s departure forms an unmistakable response to his father: it’s not good enough. (Luke 15:11-32) First, there is the son who was restless and driven to experience whatever sinful pleasures money could buy. 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. 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 tax collector is exactly in the position of the prodigal son who was lost and needed to be restored to his family. Registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We also know that these two sons were at the forefront of Jesus’ mind [Matt 10:6; 15:24]. He, and his attitude, are as important as the younger brother. over time on how he had been the younger (prodigal) son, the elder son and the father in the Gospel story. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham is presumably in heaven in some sense. All rights reserved. Also I like to point out that (as best I can determine) Ishmael is the only individual in the OT who is provided a long life span beyond normalcy besides the Seed lineage of Christ (Adam’s lineage). I also think it’s a stretch to take the term ‘father’ in the story, and link it to selected examples of ‘father’ in Luke as protector of the weak and vulnerable. 2. 1. 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. I can see that the Psalm may be part of the general Wisdom background to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. 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. But first it is always helpful to determine original audience relevance before doing so. The First Two Prodigal Sons in History. Abraham is given an active speaking role on the rich man and Lazarus story. Similarly, Hosea saw the same two characters (children of a protestitute), and prophecied about them as ‘No Mercy’ in [Hos 1:6] and ‘Not My People’ [Hos 1:9]. It started off focusing the younger son who got the share of the property. It is important to note that nothing is said about forgiveness, though it is often interpreted as a parable of divine forgiveness. Wright's Christian Origins books (I-III), The narrative premise of a post-Christendom theology, Answers to questions about the narrative-historical method, New year, new attempt to explain what this blog is all about. 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). But there is enough there I think. Let me know if I’m overlooking something. 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. 3. The father said, "My son, Your Brother Was dead and is now alive, lost and is now found" How does this story relate to my life? And in terms of connection to the Zacchaeus story, Jesus says ‘this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 3. In what sense was the kingdom of God “in the midst of” the Pharisees? Let’s not be arrogant and say that unsophistciated 1st century minds would not have worked that way. 3. In the parable the son takes the initiative in leaving, repents, and takes the initiative to return home to his waiting and passive father. There’s no point in me repeating them. I’m just pleased that, perhaps in ways you had not intended, Rembrandt is being included in the discourse. The story of the regathering of the Jews and Paul’s exploration of it is a complex theme from the OT to be sure. When his son begs for forgiveness, he cuts him short and covers him with kisses. They have a way of tripping us up, finding us out, and coming back and biting us. Neither is God. The traditional interpretation of the parable is unable to explain what the son takes from God when he demands his share of the property. 4 Halston Sage Playing Ainsley, Malcolm's younger sister and an ambitious TV news reporter is Halston Sage. “He became angry, and refused to go in”. But when this son of yours who has wasted all your money comes back, you throw a party for him!!!" He excludes himself. That doesn’t mean it’s valueless. 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 "trust" that Jesus asks for in the Image is not a passive thing. Marian.orgTheDivineMercy.orgAllHeartsAfire.orgDivineMercyArt.orgShopMercy.orgMarianPlus.org, Send us an email1-800-462-7426FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, Official promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message since 1941. The narrative-historical reading of the New Testament: what’s in it for me? It is an attitude of total surrender to God that is best understood as an "entrustment" of our whole lives to Him. 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. Unlike the sheep in the first parable that can be lifted up and taken to wherever the shepherd wants, or the coin that the woman found and placed in its rightful spot, a person is not passive. 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. 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. “And (the father) ran and embraced (the younger son) and kissed him.” – Jesus, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:20) Jesus tells us that when the father saw the son at the edge of the village, he pulled up his robes and ran to him. “Proverb” (mashal) in verse 4 could be a “parable”. https://heavy.com/entertainment/2019/09/the-prodigal-son-meaning-plot 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. The father’s love is so recklessly generous that it allows for rebellion. The celebrations at the end of the first two parables in Luke 15 are a figure for celebrations in heaven, which rather bypasses the parties that Jesus was having with the tax collectors and sinners. If necessary, “God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham”. First, in the beginning, there was a “victim” mindset against God. 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. You are by peter wilkinson. Modern readers, influenced by their various traditions, with their different levels of education, with their different cultural backgrounds, with their different ideological biases, will always read the way they want to read. Perhaps the appeal of the rich man in Hades to Abraham reflect the lines “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit” (49:7–9). The series centers on Malcolm Bright, whose father, Martin Whitly, is the infamous serial killer known as "The Surgeon". 16:22-24). 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. 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. But the impact of Jesus’s teaching in the parables is, I think, more than that of retailing pedagogical instruction. Divine Mercy 101: Elements of the Devotion. People don’t want to believe what is otherwise plain. He confesses his sin against God and against his father and is immediately welcomed back into the family. We are the prodigal son. justifiably applies to those details which in your reading are taken to deny an association with God. If you are going to argue for a reader-response understanding of the parable within its original setting, you should really provide some evidence that this is an appropriate hermeneutic for such literature under such cultural conditions. 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. Up until this point in the parable, the prodigal son's repentance does not appear to be very genuine. Then in this triad, the first 2 “lost ones” were sought for. I hope that won’t happen to you Andrew, or me, or any of the contributors to this site. The “little flock” of disciples should not be afraid, for “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (12:32). 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. In reply to I’m quite convinced Deuter 30 by Travis Finley. 13:16). For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,   and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”   This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 19:8-10). That fits wonderfully. As a matter of fact the discussion really clouds the issue. In my reading of Hebrew literature that indicates that Ishmael is not a spiritually dead lineage concerning the promise. The parable of the prodigal son is really a story explaining verse 10. And how the relationship between the two brothers went from bad to worse. 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. 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. 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 father represents God the Father for He gladly receives His son as part of His family. We know how it goes: The wild child takes off with his plentiful inheritance to enjoy life. Brad, I don’t have his book to hand. Similarly when Jesus says “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Too much might be read into this, I guess, but it fits the Abraham identification well. But there is no condemnation of the older son in the parable and certainly nothing is withheld from him. 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. A Modern-day Prodigal Son. But I’m not convinced that either text accounts for the specific form or purpose of the parables. It’s here that I think something more than simple allegory is happening in the parable. Why did Jesus instruct his disciples not to preach the kingdom of God to Gentiles and Samaritans? 3:7-9). 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. The way I read the invitation to the older son at the end is Jesus inviting the Pharisees to join him in celebrating the redemption of unholy people, those who had walked away from salvation and have now returned through Christ. In this parable, the offence is the younger son’s behaviour, and the reception given to him by the father. That’s exactly what it is. 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. I can see the force of the argument. 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Into this, by peter wilkinson an “ uncritical midrashic ” re-reading by Hannah James way of tripping up... ’ mind [ Matt 10:6 ; 15:24 ] joyful feast and gladly to. Short and covers him with kisses the perspective of the words of Christ could have more that. Is immediately welcomed back into the family him by the son takes from God he!

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