Nick Hall on This 2,000-Year-Old Story Still Calls Us Home

“Return of the Prodigal Son,” Rembrandt

The Dutch artist Rembrandt created my favorite painting called “Return of the Prodigal Son,” which is on display at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Rembrandt based his work on a story Jesus once told his disciples and the teachers of the law. It’s the story of the unchanging heart of God and a man Jesus calls “the prodigal son.”

Jesus begins his story with a father who has two sons. The younger son says, essentially, “Dad, I want my inheritance now. I want to make my own way in the world.” In biblical times, if you were to tell your parents you wanted your inheritance, you were essentially telling them, “I wish you were dead.” Jesus’ hearers would’ve thought, “This son is not treating his father as he should.”

To the shock of Jesus’ listeners, I’m sure, the father gives his youngest son what he asks for, and the son goes off and lives a wild life. In America, people go to Las Vegas when they want to go a little wild, hence the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” In Jesus’ story, it’s as if this young son leaves his home, leaves his legacy, and goes to a place like Las Vegas, where he can party and do whatever he wants. But the problem is that he only has so much money. When the money runs out, the friends and women run out too. All of a sudden he finds himself at rock bottom.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Nick Hall

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