The Best Parable in the Book
“The Prodigal Son” is widely considered to be the pinnacle of Jesus’ storytelling ministry. This story has been called “The Gospel in Miniature,” because it so captures the Gospel: a loving and forgiving God who rejoices when we sinful humans turn back toward God.
This is certainly my favorite parable, although it can make me uncomfortable even as it fills me with hope.
- How am I like that wayward prodigal son who wanders in pursuit of earthly pleasures, and squanders what I’ve been given?
- How am I like the bitter elder son who refuses to find joy in his own good fortune, or in his brother’s return?
- And finally, how am I like the loving father who is willing to let his young son go freely, yet longs for him to return to his true family?
This parable takes me back to my own father, and the ways he and I enjoyed each other, and also disappointed each other. I caused him some heartache – some of which was necessary, and some of which I now regret. I am grateful that I can remember him, in the end, as a man who loved me and was always willing to forgive. JBM