Jesus Told Parables - Read Luke 15:11-32
Jesus often told parables which are really stories to turn the thinking of the listener upside down. For example, in telling that story we refer to as the Story of the Prodigal Son, the people listening would have been scandalized by the fact that the younger son said to his father—give me my inheritance now. In that culture it would have been saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead, so I can have my money up front.” Yet the Father obliges by handing over his portion of what would one day be his son’s. Although the culture is a bit different, it is still a scandalous story because the Father welcomes back the son who has squandered his money. If the neighbors were not invited to this party, they may have stoned the young man.
The son has returned with the penitent attitude that, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son, just make me one of your hired servants.” Before the words are out of the boy’s mouth, the Father is barking orders that claims him as a son. “Bring the best robe and put on him, put shoes on his feet and a ring on his finger, and kill the fatted calf for dinner.” These are all signs that the son is acknowledged as a true son. In the story Jesus reminds us that we may have tried to push God out of our lives, but we are welcomed back when we come to our senses.