A God Like Them, Or…
Continued from yesterday…
Jesus was masterful at telling stories that conveyed a deeper meaning. They were called parables because they communicated in the language of metaphors that people related to. One such parable is about the relationship between a father and his two sons.
The younger son—perhaps disappointed with his lot in life, and maybe in search of greater significance—one day asked his father for his share of the inheritance. Asking for the money, the grand piano, and the Maserati (yes, I’m taking my creative liberties here and adding my own twist to an ancient story) in advance of his father’s passing was the epitome of selfishness and in opposition to all decency and sensibility. Jesus’ audience would have been seething with anger toward this young man.
What a spoiled brat! What a loser! What a ________ (you decide this one)!
The young son was entitled, selfish, and deserved to get nothing—no stocks, no real estate, and definitely no cryptocurrency. The older son, on the other hand, was a workaholic and always earned his keep. I’m sure everyone in the audience (blinded by hypocrisy) would have first identified with the hard-working older brother.
So when Jesus told his audience that the father gave the younger son the entire share of the inheritance, it must have caused shock and outrage.
Who responds like that to a self-centered and self-absorbed son?
No one…except this father!
Jesus was, of course, speaking about something much deeper than a male with two feet, two legs, two hands, a wrinkled face, and a long grey beard. He was speaking about the source of life. The word father was understood to imply the originator and the transcending being of the universe; the one that they also called Yahweh.
The god they had heard about was not like this father. Their god was more like them: ready to cut off all rebellion at its source with zero tolerance for blatant disobedience. So when Jesus presents the father as generous and kind even to this ungrateful son, he confronted every fear within them that suggested that such action would make them appear weak, too lenient to a rebellious child.
To be continued tomorrow…
Adapted from Section 1 of Awakening To I Am Love by David Youngren
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