Monday, May 9, 2011

The Pursuing Father Part 11

12. The older son’s anger. If the banquet were a straightforward celebration of the Prodigal’s safe return, the older son would enter the hall immediately. It would mean that the Prodigal’s position in the family has not yet been determined. The older son would be very anxious that his point of view be represented when the family discusses the matter. Of course, they are all (publicly) glad the Prodigal is home and in good health. It would be churlish not to rejoice at his safe arrival. But the young boy tells the older brother that it’s all over! Their father has already reconciled the Prodigal son–and has done so without the Prodigal paying for his sins! This is why the older son is angry. He is so angry he takes the radical step of breaking his relationship with his father.

For a son to be present and to refuse participation in such a banquet is an unspeakable public insult to the father. A cultural equivalent might be the case of a son in the West who has a heated public shouting match with his father in the middle of a wedding banquet after a large family wedding. A shouting match is not unthinkable–but not in public at such a banquet. The older son’s rejection of his father’s reconciliation with the Prodigal leads that same older son to break his relationship with the father who achieved it.


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