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The Heart of the Author

Aug 6, 2018

The Prodigal God examines the familiar parable of the prodigal son and explores some important aspects we might not have considered before.



A wealthy father has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance while his father is still living, and when his father freely gives it, he runs off and squanders it on a wild and reckless lifestyle. When he finds himself destitute, he returns home knowing he deserves nothing, but hoping his father will hire him as a servant. Instead, his father welcomes him with extravagant grace, clothes him in the finest robes, throws a party to celebrate his return, and gives him a new inheritance.

This is the extravagant love and grace our prodigal God lavishes on us. Author Timothy Keller defines prodigal as "recklessly extravagant, having spent everything." Christ gave everything for us – his life, his dignity, his own inheritance – to bring us back to our Father. And, …there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10

The parable in Luke 15 tells us that the older son felt slighted and resentful when the father lavished the younger son with celebration and a new inheritance while the older son had stayed with the father all along, living in obedience and loyalty to him. 

‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ Luke 15:31-32



The parable stops there. It doesn’t elaborate on what happened with the older brother. Did he surrender his pride and bitterness and reconcile with his father and brother? Did he openly continue his disapproval toward his prodigal brother? Or did he stuff it down and do what his father asked of him while the bitterness seethed secretly in his heart?

It is impossible to forgive someone if you feel superior to them. #TheHeartoftheAuthor #podcast #TheProdigalGod

Looking back at the story, which brother was more lost? The one who wrecked his life and came to repentance when he realized he had nothing without his father? Or the one who stayed with his father and followed all the rules but knew nothing of his own need for repentance?

Keller calls it "the parable of the two lost sons" because both brothers were equally lost. Both wanted their father's things more than they wanted their father. 

Looking at your own life, which brother do you resemble more? How many of our church pews are filled with “older brothers” looking down their noses at the prodigals? How many of the lost are driven out of the church and away from God by those who try to be “good” Christians but are equally lost in their unrepentance?

And in the end, which one more readily comes to repentance and fully surrenders everything to the Father? 

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 14:11