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The Prodigal (A Theologically Correct Parable)

Jesus loved using stories to mess with people’s theology. 

One of my favorite stories from Jesus is the one we’ve come to know as “the parable of the Prodigal Son”.

However, Jesus’ telling of it left out a few important theological points, leading to some rather unbiblical implications. So I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting it to more accurately reflect sound doctrine.


There was a man who had two sons.

The Younger Son said, “Give me the share of your estate that falls to me.” So the Father divided his wealth between them.

Not many days later, the Younger Son gathered his inheritance and set off for a faraway country, where he squandered his Father’s wealth with riotous living.

Now every day, the Father sent messengers to the Younger Son saying, “You are living in sin. Your Father does not approve of your lifestyle.”(Because the most loving thing you can do is tell a person when they are sinning.)

Before too long, he came to his senses. “They’re right. They’ve convinced me. I’d should repent.”

So he returned to his Father’s house. Standing outside the front gate, he knocked, twice, sharply.

The Father opened the front gate, just enough to see who was there. When he recognized his wayward son, he asked the question the Younger Son had been dreading:

“Why should I let you in?”

The son stammered and sputtered for a moment, and then the words fell out all at once:

“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you and am no longer worthy to be called your son. Still, if you could find a corner of your house or a scrap of bread for me, I’d love to come home.”

The Father nodded.

“You’re absolutely right. You are so unworthy. You have sinned against me by wasting all my money, and the penalty for riotous living is death. I’m so holy I can’t allow sin in my presence; you know that. I’d love to let you come home again, but rules are rules. I’m sure you understand.”

Just then the Older Son interrupted:

“Father, all these years I have been serving you faithfully, and have never disobeyed you even once.”

This was true.

Turning to the Older Son, the Father replied: “You’re right! Because you are sinless, you can pay the death penalty owed me by the Younger Son.”

So the Father killed the Older Brother.

Then he swung the gate open wide and said, “Come in! Because my other son took the death penalty you deserved, my wrath has been satisfied. Now I can forgive you.”

Then the Father called the servants and said, “Quickly! Bring some of the Older Brother’s jewelry, and his best robe, and put it on the Younger Brother. That way whenever I look at him, I won’t actually see him. Instead, I’ll see his Older Brother, who never disobeyed me.”

Then they prepared a feast, and celebrated.

The Prodigal had returned, and all was well.

[ image: DanRavenEllison ]

originally published at Deeper Story – (August 2014)

published May 11, 2015

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