The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
I just re-read Timothy Keller’s wonderful book on the parable in Luke 15 that we commonly call the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In The Prodigal God, Dr. Keller points out the significance of the two sons in this story. In this powerful little book, Tim Keller thoroughly examines that the story was directed to the Pharisees.
Here’s a quote from the book to whet your appetite (pages 43 – 45).
“Here, then, is Jesus’s radical redefinition of what is wrong with us. Nearly everyone defines sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus, though, shows us that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most profligate, immoral person. Why? Because sin is not just breaking the rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord, and Judge just as each son sought to displace the authority of the father in his own life.
“. . . Jesus does not divide the world into the moral ‘good guys’ and the immoral ‘bad guys.’ He shows us that everyone is dedicated to a project of self-salvation, to using God and others in order to get power and control for themselves. We are just going about it in different ways. Even though both sons are wrong, however, the father cares for them and invites them both back into his love and feast. This means that Jesus’s message, which is ‘the gospel,’ is a completely different spirituality. The gospel of Jesus is not religion or irreligion, morality or immorality, moralism or relativism, conservatism or liberalism. Nor is it something halfway along a spectrum between two poles—it is something else altogether.
“. . . In its view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change.”
I highly recommend this book as a must-read to understand what Jesus was teaching in this parable.
- Order The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith at ChristianBook.com.
- Dr. Keller announced in June 2020 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His update in August says he’s encouraged how effective the treatments have been for him.
- The photo is a screenshot of Dr. Keller from this YouTube video: “Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical.“
- Read Dr. Timothy Keller’s official bio on his website.