People have strong opinions about the Prodigal son. Many relate to the older brother who worked hard and feels neglected by his father, who seems to dismiss the younger son’s horrible behavior all too easily. Yet, Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees, hoping they would relate to the elder brother. Jesus was being criticized for spending time and teaching the “low lifes” of society. Jesus was trying to reveal the Pharisees’ hypocrisy. Living and working for the father should be a pleasure, not slavery. Thus, the more time you have had living under God’s grace, the more blessed you are. We don’t need to look down on those who had to appreciate God the hard way. If we see our service to God as a joyless servitude, we are as lost as the younger brother.
Here are some I Wonder questions to help you start diving into the story together:
- I wonder if the father was worried about his son that was gone
- I wonder if the elder brother was worried about his brother
- I wonder what the younger brother felt when his older brother didn’t want to welcome him home
- I wonder if I have ever hurt anyone’s feelings
- I wonder if I have ever refused to forgive someone
- I wonder what it’s like to be lost and then have someone find you
Who are you in the Story? What does the Story mean for you Today?