by Roy Hendrix
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the best known parables in the Bible. It appears only in the Gospel of Luke - Luke 15: 11-32. It’s always a good read when you’re scanning the Bible for something to read or at any other time; it’s just a good read. It has been called the best short story ever written.
The parable is packed with the stuff of life, as James W. Moore explains in “Jesus’ Parables of the Lost and Found”. There are powerful symbols here: the robe, the ring, the sandals, the inheritance, the feast, the pigs, the far country. There is provocative drama here: the fascinating interplay of emotions, love and jealousy, tenderness and rebellion, acceptance and rejection, compassion and envy, humility and arrogance. There is deep theological understanding here: the picture of sin, penitence, reconciliation, redemption, grace and forgiveness.
You’ve probably studied this parable in Sunday School or in a church seminar of some sort or other. The studies usually include the question in some format, “What is the central focus of this parable?” The point of this parable is not found in the revelry of the prodigal son, and not in the bitterness of the elder son. The point of this parable is found in the goodness of the father, the forgiveness of the father; it is found in the father’s amazing grace.
I remember studying this parable several years ago in a church seminar and at the end of the discussion a question posed by the teacher was, “What is a good alternate title for this parable?” I have always viewed the parable from the perspective of the father and this caused me to think of the title of a country and western song. Buck Owens’, “Together Again” was, of course, written about a man/woman relationship issue but his song title was what popped into my mind as an alternate title for the Prodigal Son parable. To the father, “nothing else mattered, they were together again” - he and his long lost, prodigal son.
Just like our Heavenly Father is joyous when one of his straying children returns to the fold; nothing else matters, they are together again.