Perhaps it has something to do with being so near to Easter – or Good Friday for that matter. But today, when I picked up a book that I had heard so much about, but had yet to read, I simply could not put it down. I read Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God today in just a few hours.
My heart leapt when the author made (to my mind) the greatest implication of Jesus’ parable:
There is, though, one striking difference between the third parable and the first two. In the first two someone “goes out” and searches diligently for that which is lost. The searchers let nothing distract them or stand in their way. By the time we get to the third story, and we hear about the plight of the lost son, we are fully prepared to expect that someone will set out to search for him. No one does. It is startling, and Jesus meant it to be so. By placing the three parables so closely together, he is inviting thoughtful listeners to ask: “Well, who should have gone out and searched for the lost son?”…
This is what the elder brother in the parable should have done; this is what a true elder brother would have done…
But Jesus does not put a true elder brother in the story, one who is willing to pay any cost to seek and save that which is lost. It is heartbreaking. The younger son gets a Pharisee for a brother instead.
But we do not.
By putting a flawed elder brother in the story, Jesus is inviting us to imagine and yearn for a true one.
And we have him.
Seriously, if you haven’t read this book yet, read it!