Jesus consistently used parables in His teaching because it allowed Him to present biblical principles within a story that spoke to the context of his audience.
So, as we read the parable of the Prodigal Son in today’s context, we don’t always realize how much this story would’ve shocked its listeners.
In verse 12, we see the younger son ask his father for the full share of his inheritance. Those listening when Jesus said this would have been appalled to hear of a son saying such a thing to his father. Culturally, a father would pass his wealth on to his sons only after his death. So essentially, the younger son was saying, “I wish you were dead, because I want my inheritance now.”
In the first installment of the short film, Home Again, we see just how shocking a statement like this is when said to a loving father. Watching this play out in a modern setting, we get the chance to experience how it must have felt to hear this parable in its original context.
Those listening to Jesus recount this conversation would’ve seen this act as unforgivable, and rightly expected the father to disown his son, never giving him an inheritance.
But Jesus takes the story in a highly unexpected direction, telling them the father granted his son’s outlandish request. Those in the crowd must have been appalled that such a request would be granted.
In Romans 1:22-24, Paul talks about how humanity has made this same request of God. We constantly ask for the created without the Creator attached. We don’t care much to have God and a relationship with Him, we really would just prefer if we could have all His stuff. We forget that it’s not God’s stuff, but God Himself who will satisfy the longings of our hearts.
Until we realize this, we’ll continue living like the younger brother, pursuing everything and anything (aside from God) in an impossible search for happiness.
Do you want God’s stuff more than you desire God Himself?
Watch the first installment of the film Home Again and consider how you’ve acted similarly in your relationship with God.