The story of the prodigal son is one of the most well-known parables Jesus told. So when my small group decided to read it and discuss The Prodigal God by Tim Keller, I admit to being a bit skeptical. Really? An entire book about twenty-some verses of the Bible?
But before I’d even navigated my way out of the introduction, I realized I had a whole lot to learn. Keller suggests that this parable told by Jesus in Luke 15 shouldn’t really be called the parable of the lost son; it should be the parable of the lost sons, because in fact, both sons are lost and separated from their father—the younger brother as a result of his rebellion, and the older brother as a result of his own self-righteousness.
Interestingly, Keller says that the true prodigal in the story is the Father himself. If prodigal is defined as “recklessly extravagant; having spent everything,” then our gracious God certainly fits the bill. “Jesus is showing us the God of Great Expenditure, who is nothing if not prodigal toward us, his children,” Keller points out. “God’s reckless grace is our greatest hope.”
Whether you are an older brother or a younger brother or somewhere in between, you will come away from this book with a fresh appreciation for our prodigal God. When we are reckless, he responds with reckless grace.
For more thoughts on this parable, take a look at my musings on dumpster diving.