Any teacher who tells a story takes a risk of being misunderstood.
Jesus was such a story teller. One day Jesus was sitting with a group of tax collectors or sinners. These were Jewish people who were under contract to Rome to collect taxes from their own people. Therefore were hated by their own people. They were outcasts.
That afternoon the group that had gathered around Jesus and were relaxed, eating and drinking together. These undesirables were listening intently to what Jesus was saying about the kingdom of God.
Remember, he did not teach like the scribes and Pharisees, who quoted the ancient rabbis as their authority. Those who heard Him knew He was an authority within Himself.
But the Pharisees and teachers of the law were offended.
Angry, not so much with what Jesus was saying, for they weren't listening. They were angered that He, a recognized teacher was eating and drinking with people that they considered riff-raff. They called them "people of the land", non-religious people.
In response to their anger Jesus taught three short stories.
All had to do with things that were lost and the joy that should accompany their finding. The first story was about a Shepherd that had lost a sheep.
Then he told a story about a woman who had lost a valuable coin.
His final story featured a lost son and his relationship with a loving father and a jealous, self-righteous elder brother.
The characters we find in Jesus' Parable are classic representations of mankind.
There is the young prodigal
The loving father
Self-righteous elder brother!
1. The choices of the young prodigal
11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
Under Jewish law a father was supposed to divide his inheritance after he died, with two-thirds going ...
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