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Where Dreams Come True (9 of 11)
Series: Parables Series: Surprising Lessons on the God-Life
Introduction: Today I am going to present the sermon in the form of a first person monologue. Veterans here have heard me do this on several occasions, typically around Christmas and Easter. I usually do this when the Biblical text or story is so familiar to everyone that we could benefit from thinking about it from a fresh perspective. I try to achieve that perspective by telling the story from the inside out. I assume the part of one of the characters associated with the story and then let the person speak in his own words.
This is, in part, an exercise of the imagination. We, of course, don't know all the details of any Bible story. We know part of what happened and part of the dialogue. But seldom do we know much about the inner thoughts or emotions of the people involved. Sometimes the inside perspective is what makes the story come alive and helps us see that it really does relate to us here and now.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most familiar stories of Jesus. It probably ranks second only to the Good Samaritan. Many literary scholars consider it one of the finest short stories in the world. The parable tells the story of the three members of one family--a father and two sons. Around the three, Jesus weaves a tale of high drama and surprising plot twists. He leaves us with much to think about and wishing we knew the characters and the rest of their stories. That is what I am going to attempt to tell you today.
As with most of Jesus' parables, the Prodigal Son is probably intended to be read as fiction. But it could have happened. There is nothing here that real people haven't experienced, perhaps some of us in this room. But it is more than the trials and triumphs of adolescence and parenthood. The beginning of the chapter makes it clear that the story came in response to those that couldn ...
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