The Prodigal God

Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

by Timothy Keller

In this book Timothy Keller discusses perhaps the most famous of Jesus’ parables-the prodigal son. He discusses more from the point of view of the son who stayed at home and the father than he does the son that left.

In short, both sons left the father. The younger son’s leaving was more obvious. The older son’s leaving was more in attitude. But both broke relationship with the father. Keller discusses the role of the older son in the relationship. He mentions that the older son could have, and perhaps should have, gone after his younger brother.

Since Christ is telling this parable to a mixed audience of obvious sinners (younger brothers) and self-righteous Pharisees (older brothers)Keller suggests that the target audience may have been the older-brother Pharisees more than the obvious sinners.

The word prodigal is defined as:

  1. wastefully or recklessly extravagant: prodigal expenditure.
  2. giving or yielding profusely; lavish (usually followed by of or with) prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.
  3. lavishly abundant; profuse: - giving or yielding profusely; lavish

We can see in the definition that it still describes the younger son who wastefully and recklessly spends his inheritence, but more importantly we can see that God is also prodigal in His love and grace toward us. He gives profusely and lavishly without restraint. I pray that we can all open our eyes and enjoy the Father instead of running away from Him or becoming bitter and self-righteous.