As the author points out, “This is perhaps the most well-known, well-loved, and, some would offer, most ‘sophisticated’ of all of Jesus’ parables.” For many of us, when we start to read the parable of the prodigal son, because it’s so familiar, we may tend to gloss over certain parts…to read through it rather quickly…so, right now, I’d encourage you to step away from your computer. No really. Do it. Step. Away. From. Your. Computer.
Go find your Bible, and read Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32, the parable of the prodigal son, and when you read it again, try to do it with fresh eyes. Try to pretend like you’re reading it for the first time. Alright, I’ll give you a few minutes to do that.
So – how was that? Did you notice anything different in that reading of the parable? Did anything stand out to you that hasn’t in the past?
Below are a few images and interpretations of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Which do you think best illustrates how you interpret & imagine the story?
The author asks the question of who we relate to in this parable? If you feel comfortable sharing, it’d be great to hear from you about who you relate to most in this story? Do you feel like the younger brother, knowing that you’ve been through a lot in your life, and have been able to be the recipient of amazing grace like that shown to the younger brother? Or perhaps you relate to the elder brother, the brother who has remained faithful for the most part, abiding by the rules & laws of God, and although you don’t really like to admit it, perhaps wonder how God’s grace can be shared and poured so lavishly over those who seem to have “squandered” their inheritance? Or perhaps you feel like you can relate to the father, waiting for his son to return?
The author shares the story of Jose/Josefina, and uses it as an example of the radical love and grace that we can show to others, which is but a shadow (I’d say) of the love and grace that we receive from God. Are there stories from your own life in which you’ve either been the recipient of such amazing love and forgiveness, or possibly times when you’ve been in the position to offer such love and forgiveness? It’s not easy, is it? It’s never easy to be able to offer forgiveness. Sometimes it would be easier to simply play the role of the elder brother. But because we have been given the opportunity of forgiveness through Christ, it’s one of those things that we simply must strive for in our lives.
Again, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Not at all.
What stood out to you most in this week’s study? Where do you feel most challenged? Does the story of the prodigal son leave you feeling somewhat disturbed, like the author, or does it leave you feeling comforted?