The parable of the Prodigal Son is found in Luke 15:11-32.
Prodigal Son Story Summary
The story of the Prodigal Son, also known as the Parable of the Lost Son, follows immediately after the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. With these three parables, Jesus demonstrated what it means to be lost, how heaven celebrates with joy when the lost are found, and how the loving Father longs to save people.
Jesus was also responding to the Pharisees‘ complaint: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
The story of the Prodigal Son begins with a man who has two sons. The younger son asks his father for his portion of the family estate as an early inheritance. Once received, the son promptly sets off on a long journey to a distant land and begins to waste his fortune on wild living.
When the money runs out, a severe famine hits the country and the son finds himself in dire circumstances. He takes a job feeding pigs. Eventually, he grows so destitute that he even longs to eat the food assigned to the pigs.
The young man finally comes to his senses, remembering his father. In humility, he recognizes his foolishness and decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness and mercy. The father who has been watching and waiting, receives his son back with open arms of compassion. He is overjoyed by the return of his lost son.
Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare an enormous feast in celebration of his son’s return.
Meanwhile, the older son boiles in anger when he comes in from working the fields to discover a party with music and dancing to celebrate his younger brother’s return. The father tries to dissuade the older brother from his jealous rage explaining, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”
Points of Interest From the Prodigal Son Story
Typically, a son would receive his inheritance at the time of his father’s death. The fact that the younger brother instigated the early division of the family estate showed a rebellious and proud disregard for his father’s authority, not to mention a selfish and immature attitude.
Pigs were unclean animals. Jews were not even allowed to touch pigs. When the son took a job feeding pigs, even longing for their food to fill his belly, it revealed that he had fallen as low as he could possibly go. This son represents a person living in rebellion to God. Sometimes we have to hit rock-bottom before we come to our senses and recognize our sin.
This section of Luke’s Gospel is dedicated to the lost. The first question it raises for readers is, “Am I lost?” The father is a picture of our Heavenly Father. God waits patiently, with loving compassion to restore us when we return to him with humble hearts. He offers us everything in his kingdom, restoring full relationship with joyful celebration. He doesn’t dwell on our past waywardness.
Reading from the beginning of chapter 15, we see that the older son is clearly a picture of the pharisees. In their self-righteousness, they refuse to associate with sinners and have forgotten to rejoice when a sinner returns to God.
Bitterness and resentment keep the older son from forgiving his younger brother. It blinds him to the treasure he freely enjoys through constant relationship with the father. Jesus loved hanging out with sinners because he knew they would see their need of salvation and respond, flooding heaven with joy.
Questions for Reflection
Who are you in this story? Are you a prodigal, a pharisee, or a servant? Are you the rebellious son, lost and far from God? Are you the self-righteous pharisee, no longer capable of rejoicing when a sinner returns to God?
Are you a lost sinner seeking salvation and finding the Father’s love? Are you standing to the side, watching and wondering how the Father could ever forgive you?
Maybe you’ve hit rock-bottom, come to your senses, and decided to run to God’s open arms of compassion and mercy? Or are you one of the servants in the household, rejoicing with the father when a lost son finds his way home?
Do you have any people in your life that might qualify to being like a prodigal son? I do! Many of us have kin, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends, who are like prodigals, waiting to come home and be forgiven for their lives of addiction and sin.
In fact, I am sitting here awaiting one of my kin to come to his senses, come home and find God. They need to come home and find their family still loves them and holds them in high regard. So I await, and thank God for the gift of patience and I shall continue praising God for his grace and compassion and the chance to give it to me kin.
Nin se Neaseno.
The empty tomb. All that is left for anyone to see. Many folks do not believe this happened but I believe and I have witnessed visions of this while I yet lived as a Medicine Man/Holy Man among my own Native peers.
I believe in several prophecies regarding the re-appearance of this man someday soon. They told us he would come back as Gatikneu or Gatikno, as the Spotted Eagle, which is a prominent prophecy among my people. It used to be told by many of the Elders when I was younger but I have not heard it repeated for quite a few years now.
I know several prophecies about this re-appearance and plan to teach on it during our regular classes coming in May. It is my belief the time of his re-appearing is very close and the Spotted Eagle will come to gather his feathers once again. And they shall be only the feathers which belong to him, not any other, no matter how beautiful they may be.
More on this later…..
Nin se Neaseno.
Epij mnogishget shote ngom gaga she nda je nbamadgeyan gechwa gche mnokmek
Emikwendeman ga kenomageyan dbekok enagdewendemyan enendemyek i ga kedyan
cho wika eyajmot weye ekigdoyan shote hau neshnabemok nda ked…….
Nin se Neaseno
It is a chore to post stuff and no one ever responds as sharing their thoughts and discussing something spiritual. A long time ago when I was still a boy, barely old enough to drive a car, we would sit in the late evening and discuss spiritual thoughts with one another. I learned a lot from many of the elders still alive at that time. Egi neshnabemoyak pene enendemyak mine anet gi kekyajek gi yajmowat ni atsokanen iw pi. gi gche medagwendan ga shewebziyak iw pi…..
Hau bama pi mine
Nin se Neaseno
Thoughts Before Passover
By Julia BlumMarch 25, 2021No comments
My dear readers, I am facing a real challenge this week. The reading for the last week consisted of two Torah Portions, therefore I was supposed to comment on two Parashot, and not one. I did not have enough space for the second one, though, and therefore, the last Portion of Exodus is yet to be discussed. Meanwhile, we started not only a new Torah Portion, but a new Torah Book; and on the top of all that, the Passover – Pesach – is fast approaching (as some of you probably know). Therefore, I have a threefold task in this post: to comment on Pikudei (the last portion of Exodus), to discuss Vayikra (the first portion of Leviticus), and to share some thoughts regarding Pesach.
The final portions of the book of Exodus, in their entirety, describe the efforts of Moses and all the people of Israel in building the Tabernacle – the wonderful portable sanctuary that was to accompany the Jewish people throughout their long journey in the wilderness, and was to be set up in the Land of Israel when they finally arrived there. Finally, in the very last chapter, the concluding verses of the Book of Exodus inform us about the completion of this Sanctuary: “So Moses finished the work”. What happens next?
“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting… And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it“ A thick cloud covered the newly built Sanctuary. Because of this cloud, Moshe himself was unable to enter the Sanctuary. Can you imagine? After all the effort, which had gone into this building, it was covered by a cloud and seemed to be totally inaccessible and totally useless.
Yes, of course, everyone knows NOW that it was not just cloud: it was God’s glory! God’s presence covered the Sanctuary! However, think of that first moment when it happened: how could they know exactly what this cloud was? I am sure that Moses had faith, and didn’t doubt or question God, – but I am also quite sure that there were many there who were grumbling, wondering why in the world they had spent so much time building the very thing that now seemed to be so useless! It is always our choice: to praise God for His presence covering the Tabernacle – or to grumble about the untimely cloud, interfering with our plans.
In an amazing way – like everything in Torah – this choice is reflected by the very first word of our portion, “VaYikra”. I wrote about it already, but I think it’s worth mentioning every time we come to the Book of Leviticus – Vayikra. In the original Hebrew text, the first word of this Portion and of this Book – the word Vayikra – has a peculiar feature: it is written with a little aleph at the end. There are three sizes of the letters in Torah – intermediate, oversized and miniature – and every time we see a letter of a different size, we should look for a profound explanation. So, why do we have this miniature aleph here?
Our sages have offered different explanations, mostly to do with humility: they said that Moses had attained the highest level of humility, and it was expressed by the miniature aleph of Vayikra. There is, however, another explanation, that I love and always share. The word “VaYikra” without the aleph would read “VaYiker”, which means, “and it happened”. So, when we begin to read this book in Hebrew, we first read: “it happened”; but then we see this little Alef –and understand that the message here is completely different. There is a huge and truly ontological difference between the worldview based on Vayikra – “and He called”, and the worldview based on VaYiker – “and it happened”. A Jewish commentary says that when the Red Sea split, all the seas in the world split at the same time—because the Lord always leaves us a choice to perceive His miracles as some natural event that “just happened”. Once again, we always have this choice: to recognize the presence of God, the hand of God, the voice of God – or to see a cloud that ‘just happened’ to come at a bad time and became an unfortunate obstacle in our worship.
Preparing for Passover
Lately, I heard an interesting story. Some great rabbi in Israel (I won’t mention his name), while talking about cleaning his house for Passover (Nikayon Pesach), said, “However, the most important cleaning is of course the cleansing of the heart”. When asked, whether he knows who had said it before him, he answered: Of course! It was Paul! Thus, the Jewish rabbi knows about Paul and Paul’s exhortation to cleanse the hearts from the leaven; do the Christians readers know about Jewish Nikayon Pesach and Bedikat Hametz? When you read Paul’s words speaking of unleavened bread: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened.” – do you know what the original background of this famous verse was?
A modern Christian reader would probably see in these words only spiritual reality: believers, being saved and purified from sin (leaven), become the unleavened bread. However, there is no doubt that while writing, Paul had in mind the Jewish Passover and that his words refer to a very practical bedikat chametz – the ceremony of “searching for leaven”. This ceremony probably existed in the time of Jesus, and it still exists in Jewish homes today, both in Israel and in the dispersion: after weeks of thorough cleaning (Nikayon Pesach), on the evening before Passover, the entire house would be solemnly inspected for any occasional crumbs of leaven. Here is what David Baron writes: “I well remember the interest with which as a boy I used to follow about my father on the evening before 14th of Nisan… after uttering the prayer: “Blessed are you the Lord our God, who has sanctified us by Your commandments and commanded us to remove the leaven”, he proceeded to search all the likely and unlikely places all over the house for leaven”. This ceremony, completing the cleaning of the house, has always been considered necessary and final preparation for the Feast. Undoubtedly, Paul’s words refer to this custom – however, as it happens often in the New Testament, Paul reveals a new spiritual layer beyond the traditional custom.
I find this very interesting as I study the Old and New Testaments both in Hebrew and English, as well as Greek. Learning and knowing the original texts on Biblical knowledge is important. Knowing my own language, I know that English only does not fully translate Bodewadmi thought and reason, and I find it is the same in Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible.
Nin se Neaseno
Congratulations are in order today!
I am a brand new grandfather again this morning at 10 AM….7 lbs. 3 oz. beautiful baby boy, born to my son Wally and his wife. Neagnekwe mine ngwes gi minangowat o gigabes ngom kyet nam she epij chiwenmoyan ode mnwajmowen.
That makes 28 grandchildren for this old guy and I need somebody to congratulate me. Ho Wah! And 4 great grandchildren, I am starting to feel really blessed right about now.
Ya all have a great day….God is sooooo good!
Nin se Neaseno.
Very interesting stuff. I have always loved anything to do with prophetic events as it allows me to compare with the prophecies of my people. It almost lines up with what we have been told by our elders many years ago for me now. I recall many talks around the fires in the evenings and later afternoons as I listened to those elders speak of stuff like this.
We say ganajmowen to describe prophetic events that are set to happen at some point in the future of our years. Creational and Durational times has always been seen as approximately 7,000 years for most people. I learned this from some of the travels I have done seeking the truth of prophecy among some of our aboriginal societies around the world. Many of our elders encouraged me to seek out other cultures and their teachings as to prophecy and what their teachings had to reveal. In other words, I was to make comparisons and seek the truth out. They always believed that everything was confirmed by two or three witnesses.
Many people have shared with me what they think about the longevity of this world, but our prophecies say it is going to come to an end. We are slowly poisoning our air, water, and food supply as we move along through life and that affects everyone. The old people who shared many of these prophecies with me when I was younger are no longer here, but they always spoke of the end as though it was set in stone. Prophecy is indeed like that!
Ode ekendemyan bgeji ebmadsewat edebwetagwzewat ode ganajmowen. Nanakech ejajibtebyan ngoji enendemyan wa je shewebek iw pi endomat o mnedo shkwase eyawen……..
Iw enajmoyan ngom….
Nin se Neaseno.
Intriguing stuff this, at least for me. My elders spoke of a lot of mysterious things like this but it was never written down by anyone. Our Bodewadmi cultural thoughts and language are completely oral. Much of it has been written by various folks but there remains a lot that is either untrue, incorrect, or unverifiable. In short, I do not trust the stuff that has been written or recorded by some individuals, as there is no way to tell where they got their facts, and if the informants they used, in some cases, were even telling them the truth. There is such a thing as many informants attempting to make a name for themselves and exaggerating much of what they shared, or simply giving someone a “canned speech” just to get rid of them. I have heard many things said about those “informants” by elders. Many were called sell outs and were not respected once the gete Neshnabek knew they had been talking to the whites about our cultural ways.
To date, there is not a Potawatomi alive still practicing our old ways. I know of many of the old teachings and songs, but lack the “body of folks” necessary to help conduct said ceremonies. Some of the Ojibwe people are practicing a form of the “Old”, but it is still a mere shadow of what once was the truth of the matter. I once shared some old waubenoh songs with a certain group, but they tried to claim them as their own, and soon all was forgotten anyway. In short, if something isn’t practiced as a ritual every day, it is soon forgotten, and that what has happened to our old beliefs, and about to happen to our language as well. The old language is dead and gone, with a few of us still in command of some of the words, but not nearly enough to rescue them, and make them useful again.
I think I know what it feels like to be a dinosaur. One of my kids once called me that, some years ago, because I was trying to bring back some of the old ways of doing things, and it had to do with the material culture, more than the spiritual side of it. We go on though, eh?
Nin se Neaseno.
Mjesh ode zhechkewen enendemokewat gode bemadsejek ngom.
Interesting to me, as we have an oral tradition among Neshnabek and I have studied to see if the giving of the Torah to the Israelites at Sinai was an oral thing at the beginning. I am currently studying this some more…….
Nin se Neaseno.