1. Hmmm . . .
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    26 Apr '07 02:55
    I would like to invite anyone on here who wishes to give their opinions on how to exegete this parable. The passages in bold are intended to hint at what my own thinking is—

    NRS Luke 15:11 Then Jesus said, "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands." ' 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe-- the best one-- and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate. 25 "Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.' 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, 'Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!' 31 Then the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.' "

    _______________________________

    Particularly, I am interested in what you might think the celebration represents, along with the phrase “this brother of yours was dead”? Also, that the elder son had obeyed his father in all things—being faithful?
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    26 Apr '07 03:24
    I think this parable is very comparible to Matthew 18:11-14

    "For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost. How think you? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the 99 sheep and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep than of the 99 which did not go astray? Even so it is not the will of the Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    26 Apr '07 03:28
    Originally posted by whodey
    I think this parable is very comparible to Matthew 18:11-14

    "For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost. How think you? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the 99 sheep and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say to you, he rejoices mo ...[text shortened]... s not the will of the Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
    Yes, I think that’s part of it. I have to pack it in for the night, though... So we’ll see what transpires tomorrow.

    Be well.
  4. Donationkirksey957
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    26 Apr '07 21:11
    I think Jesus' other story of the two brothers, one who said he would do what his father asked and did not versus the one who said he would not and did, is congruent with this parable. The interior matters more than what shows on the exterior whether it be words or compliance. At the very least Jesus is painting a little more elaborate picture of human nature and behavior.

    The account of the one lost sheep versus the 99, I once heard an interpretation of this as a "feminine" parable because women usually release one egg at a time whereas men release millions of "seeds."
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    26 Apr '07 23:04
    For me verse 10 defines the context. 'Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.'
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    27 Apr '07 02:222 edits
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I think Jesus' other story of the two brothers, one who said he would do what his father asked and did not versus the one who said he would not and did, is congruent with this parable. The interior matters more than what shows on the exterior whether it be words or compliance. At the very least Jesus is painting a little more elaborate picture of human le because women usually release one egg at a time whereas men release millions of "seeds."
    Perhaps there is some truth in what you point out, however, when the father responds to the faithful brothers objections the interesting thing is that he seems to understand where he is coming from. In fact, the father responds to him by saying that everything he has belongs to the faithful son who had served him all of those years. Is this an indication, I wonder, that the prodigal son no longer has a claim to an inheritance as the older brother? After all, the younger brother had an inheritance that he demanded upfront and subsequently squandered it so perhaps the faithful brother is the only one left with and inheritance to look forward to. Although the prodigal son has been "saved" it looks as though his future will be more in the position to serve others as where the faithful son will be more in a position of authority. You might say it falls along the lines of Christ teaching that if one wants to be a ruler or a person of authority then one must first learn to serve beforehand as where those who only wish to be in a position of authority will end up serving.
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Apr '07 04:211 edit
    Originally posted by josephw
    For me verse 10 defines the context. 'Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.'
    Or as a concluding statement to the preceding preceding parables? Or a connecting statement that puts them all three in context with one another? The "congruence" that Kirksey mentioned...
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Apr '07 05:031 edit
    I was reading Robert Farrar Capon’s interpretation of this parable today—he sees some interesting things in the Greek that he takes as clues about the dead/alive theme.

    In verse 12, the first word translated by NRSV as “property” is ousia—which also means substance, existence, essence. The second word translated as “property” is bion, from bios, whose basic meaning is life, but can also mean living, or livelihood. Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) reads:

    YLT Luke 15:12 and the younger of them said to the father, Father, give me the portion of the substance falling to {me}, and he divided to them the living.

    Capon also notes that the father may be seen as having given to the two sons what would be their inheritance when he died.

    The elder son chose to remain (“live with”?) the father. I am wondering if there is any hint of primogeniture here? That the younger brother received in inheritance, but that the elder brother received the bulk of the property? “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”

    Capon takes the celebration/banquet as being metaphor for the kingdom of God. So the younger son who was dead is now alive in the kingdom. The faithful, obedient brother chooses to exclude himself on the basis of—jealousy? But the father pursues him! Based on josephw’s mention of verse 10 (which I should have included), and Kirk’s suggestion of congruence, I see a new twist here! The elder brother is now cast as the one that the father comes looking for, just as the woman looked for the lost coin...

    One more point: the younger brother is embraced by the father before he makes any remorseful confession (in which he makes no mention to his father about becoming a hired hand—or perhaps the father cuts him off...).

    Capon seems generally to be of the view that we are forgiven (released/divorced from) our sins, and then repent—that is, the radical change of metanoia begins when we realize that we are forgiven. In this story, Capon sees the younger son’s dropping of his idea of becoming a hired hand, as final acceptance of the father’s grace—when metanoia has really set in.

    I tend to agree with Whodey about the father’s understanding of the elder son (although Capon does not, but sees the father as scolding the elder son for his clinging to what is just and right, while still seeking to persuade him not to thereby exclude himself). After all, from the point of view of justice, the father’s behavior is “scandalous.” Like Whodey (and Kirk, based on another thread), I tend to sympathize with the elder son—but that is perhaps just what this parable (on one level anyway) is warning of. Note that—like the lady and the tiger story—this one ends without letting us know the elder son’s decision...

    The one who squandered his inheritance and was dead, is invited into the kingdom. The one who still retains his inheritance and remained obedient (and living?) is also invited into the kingdom. I see all this as possibly taking place within the context of the kingdom itself (the celebration/banquet), and hence not necessarily within an earthly time-frame (thinking a bit of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce here, wherein I recall some entering the kingdom—which is always open—but just not being able to tolerate it).
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    27 Apr '07 10:491 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    One more point: the younger brother is embraced by the father before he makes any remorseful confession (in which he makes no mention to his father about becoming a hired hand—or perhaps the father cuts him off...).
    True, but I would say that once the prodigal son began walking home and that this was a type of confession all in itself in regards to him falling short or failing in his pursuits. It is a type of remorse, if you will. The younger son NEEDED to make the willful decision to come back to the father even though he knew it would not be on his own terms. This is seen as the younger brother "came to himself". In other words, he put aside his prideful attitude of "independence" from the father and admitted to himself that he needed his father after all. Notice also that both the younger brother and older brother in the story both have to come to the father or receive the father on his own terms rather than their own. There is a type of submission here that is required that both must bow to in the end.
  10. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Apr '07 23:03
    Originally posted by whodey
    True, but I would say that once the prodigal son began walking home and that this was a type of confession all in itself in regards to him falling short or failing in his pursuits. It is a type of remorse, if you will. The younger son NEEDED to make the willful decision to come back to the father even though he knew it would not be on his own terms. This i ...[text shortened]... own. There is a type of submission here that is required that both must bow to in the end.
    I agree in part. Just a couple of comments—

    (1) Capon’s view was that the younger son’s metanoia was not complete as long as he had it in mind to bargain with his father—“I no longer deserve to be treated as your son, I have exhausted my inheritance, but maybe you can give me a job.”

    (2) The actual confession made to the father—without the attempt to bargain—reflected the young man’s final, or complete metanoia, in response to the father’s grace.

    (3) Both sons need to enter the banquet on the father’s terms—but it is the perceived unjustness of those terms that is a stumbling block for the elder son.

    Now, this parable can—I suppose—be cast in strictly a “works versus faith” lesson. But if the elder son’s obedience is seen as faithfulness (“and never thy command did I transgress,” YLT), then I think there can be a warning here for any who want to be sure that their faithfulness is rewarded, and might be upset if God allows the disinherited (those who have disinherited themselves, or squandered their inheritance) into the kingdom as well. What exactly does the inheritance symbolize in this parable (Capon seems to think that it is life itself).

    In this—and perhaps pivotal to it—is the question of “when” the kingdom is, and when the elder son’s refusal to enter occurs before or after death. When will the “elder sons” become aware that the “younger sons” are also invited to the banquet? When will they both actually understand the nature of the kingdom? It seems to me to be an open question...
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