Legally, the son had given up his rights for further inheritance and therefore wasn’t really like a son. Morally, the son’s behavior was not up to the typical family standards of the time. His behavior would still be frowned upon today. The father twice says that his son was back from the dead. This raises the question, in what ways was he dead? There are two hypothetical responses to this question. The first refers to the famine that the son was exposed to. It is possible that the father had heard about the famine and assumed that, since he hadn’t heard from him in a long time, his youngest son had not survived the famine.
The second possibility talks about where the son left to go. The parable states that the son moved to a distant country. This country was most likely a Gentile country because many Jews lived in Gentile areas. In those days, it was not uncommon for Jews to perform funerals for their children that either moved to Gentile communities or that married Gentiles. It is possible that this is what he meant, however it is highly unlikely that he would disown his child and then open his arms to him as he did. Up until the conflict with the older son, the parable has many parallels to the other two stories in the trilogy.
The older son is brought into the picture in order to introduce a further lesson. It has been said that the parable is more like two parables tied together the phrase, “was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. ” In some ways, both sons on the parable are lost, one who left home and one still at home. The older son expresses anger towards his long lost brother, in contrast to the warm love the father expends. The son complains that he hasn’t even gotten a young goat, yet they killed the fatted calf for the other son. This complaint hints at long time resentment. The son shows disrespect towards his father, as well as his brother.
In this way, he broke the fourth commandment and was just as sinful as his hated brother. He makes unfounded accusations that his brother had wasted the money on prostitutes when nowhere in the parable is there any evidence that he had. The father willingly forgives his son for this just as easily as he forgave his youngest son. He tells him that everything he has is also his sons, hinting that all of the inheritance would go to the eldest son. This hinting cannot be solidified because, once again, the details about the property are not specified because it is not relevant in Jesus’ lesson.
The only important thing is that the father forgave both of his sons. Each of the characters in this parable can be compared to another person or group of people. The characters are just a way of teaching a lesson to each of the people they represent. In this parable, the father symbolizes God. It shows that God will rejoice and honor any and every sinner that repents. It also emphasizes that God doesn’t need to wait for a full apology. He recognizes the sentiment and considers that enough to forgive.
Jesus also uses the parable to address those who criticized him for being around sinners by chiding them for not rejoicing that the sinners were interested in what he had to teach. The parable does not necessarily say we should seek out those sinners, but that we should be glad and open when they come to us to be taught. The parable of the Prodigal Son was just one of many parables that Jesus told to get his message out to the people. The themes from this particular parable are timeless. No matter what, God will always forgive us when we show only the slightest repentance and we should always forgive those who show repentance towards us.
Bibliography > Author Unknown. Parable of the Lost Son. 09 December 2004. The Boston Christian Bible Study Resources. 30 November 2005. http://www. bcbsr. com/survey/pb134. html > Keating, Thomas. The Parable of the Prodigal Son. 2005. Contemplative Outreach Ltd. 30 November 2005. http://centeringprayer. com/kingdom/kingdom03. htm. > Morrison, Michael. Parable of the Lost Son. 1992. Worldwide Church of God. 30 November 2005. http://www. wcg. org/lit/bible/gospels/lostson. htm. > “Prodigal Son” Wikipedia. 4 November 2005. http://en.wikipedia.org/Prodigal_Son . Show preview only The above