Charles Dickens referred to the parable of the prodigal son as the greatest story ever written. He has not stood alone in that sentiment. For generations this brief parable, as told by Jesus Christ, has been not only familiar but captivating to its readers. Perhaps what makes this story so intriguing is the way so many of us can identify with the younger son, who rebelled against his father only to realize later the gravity of his mistakes.
Unfortunately much of the story is lost to those of us reading it more than 2,000 years after it was first told. There is a significant culture gap between 21st-century America and first-century Israel. When we read the story of the prodigal son, we see a young man who merely disobeyed his father as if he broke curfew one night. The Lord's original audience would have immediately realized the severity of the prodigal's request. In the minds of the Jews, what the younger son did to his father warranted the death penalty, according to the Old Testament.
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- Brandi R.