Archive for Jesus

The Parable of the Recalcitrant Older Son

Posted in For God with tags , , , on May 1, 2017 by cavalier973

At church yesterday, the pastor continued his series on how the Resurrection of Jesus impacts our relationships. The passage he used was what is normally known as “The Prodigal Son”.

The conventional message from this parable is that the prodigal son represents us, the father in the story represents God, and the theme of the story is God’s forgiveness.

One might hear an alternative discussion of the theme of the story, in which the elder brother is the focus; his unwillingness to forgive his brother is “the point”, and we are admonished to search our own hearts, to ensure we are not being unforgiving.

The pastor tied these two themes together. He began by pointing out that, in Jesus’ day, the “Honor-Shame” culture was the basis for Jesus’ listeners’ understanding of the story. I’d heard before that the younger son’s request for an immediate distribution of his share of the inheritance was extremely disrespectful (in short, he was saying that he wished his father were already dead), but the pastor pointed out that the elder son’s failure to take his brother aside and counsel him on proper etiquette was also extremely disrespectful of the father.

Neither son had a good relationship with the father.

The pastor then described that the surrounding community would have gotten involved, to make sure that the younger son was properly punished for the dishonor he had done to his father, but the father himself abrogated such punishment by granting the younger son his wish.

At the end, when the younger son had determined that he would go back and beg to be a servant, the father sees him from far-off, and races to meet him. The pastor said that the implication is that the father brings more dishonor to himself by hitching up his robe and running through town in order to meet his son before the townspeople could exact the proper punishment on the younger son.

The father bestows undeserved honor on the younger son.

Meanwhile, the elder brother doesn’t even know what his father is doing, which is a strong indication that he is acting as hateful as the younger brother, even though he thinks he is “doing the right thing”.

The story ends on a cliffhanger.

The church podcasts the sermons; I recommend it. Yesterday’s sermon is not up, yet, but you can listen to past sermons.

Something I’d like to touch was the elder son’s relationship with his brother. I tend to identify with the elder brother, since I did not have the opportunity, or the courage, to live a profligate life. I think that the elder brother was suffering from envy. The set-up is that the younger brother severely dishonors his father, and rather than smacking him in the face, the father grants the younger son his wish. The younger son then goes and proves his unfitness for society by spending all the inheritance on wine, women, and song, and winds up at the lowest point someone in his society can reach: feeding swine, and wishing he were a swine so that he could have something to eat, at least. And then, and then: rather than showing the younger son mere mercy by giving him a place among the servants and a crust of bread to eat (which is what the younger son expects, and more than he deserves, in a way), the father shows abundant grace, by restoring the younger son to a place of extreme honor.

In the elder brother’s eyes, the younger son got away with it. He got to “enjoy” a life of sin, and then not suffer any consequences for it. Full restoration. I bet the elder son thought, “I should have demanded my portion of the inheritance, too and had a ‘good time’ with my life–I would certainly have not lost it all, like my dumb brother, either.” The elder brother will also have to carry the burden of his father’s grace, since it would be expected he continued to support the younger brother, and not kick him to the curb after the father dies. This attitude shows disrespect to the father, because it discounts the father’s love for his sons.

Also, the younger son did not “get away with it”. The father points out to his older son that “all that I have is yours”; this is literally true. When the father dies, then the older son inherits everything. The younger son already got his “inheritance”, and it is now gone. He will be completely dependent on the elder brother. He has the unhappy memories of the consequences of his sinful life. And while the younger son has been fully restored in his relationship with his father, it is evident that his relationship with the others in the story is still broken, and he will likely have to live with being seen as someone to be avoided for the rest of his life.

Wise Advice from Dr. Murphy

Posted in For God with tags , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2014 by cavalier973

Dr. Robert Murphy has a blog called “Free Advice”. The content usually concerns economic issues, but he recently posted about God’s Salvation.

An excerpt:

If you believe in God, but have a vague sense that as long as you’re not a really awful person and usually try to do the right thing you’ll make the cut…I empathize with that perspective because it’s a natural, earthly way to look at it. But it’s not what the New Testament says. I would encourage people who think Jesus was a wise teacher to read the above passages in context to understand this radical and initially counterintuitive perspective.

Of course, certain folks have to be snotty in the comments, based on their delusional belief in self-creating infinite universes and self-organizing information.

The So-Called Christ Myth

Posted in For God with tags , , , on September 30, 2014 by cavalier973

The thesis that Jesus never existed has hovered around the fringes of research into the New Testament for centuries but never been able to become an accepted theory. This is for good reason, as it is simply a bad hypothesis based on arguments from silence, special pleading and an awful lot of wishful thinking. It is ironic that atheists will buy into this idea and leave all their pretensions of critical thinking behind. I will adapt what has become popular usage and call people who deny Jesus’ existence ‘Jesus Mythologists’.”

By James Hannam

Archaeology and Joshua’s Conquest

Posted in For God with tags , , , , , , on July 1, 2014 by cavalier973

Excellent article over at Answers in Genesis.

Dr. Purdom reviews “The Unbelievers”

Posted in For God with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by cavalier973

Her article is here.

 

“What discoveries are not being made in our modern world because so many scientists have decided that the universe and every living thing is just the result of random chance (e.g., consider the case of “junk” DNA“)?” ~Dr. Purdom

Cheesy Atheist Preaching

Posted in For God with tags , , , , , , on March 30, 2014 by cavalier973

Links to reviews of the movie Noah.

Matt Walsh

godawa.com

mennoknight

Ken Ham

Dr. Mohler

 Dr. Brian Mattson

A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

On the “New Cosmos” television program.

Posted in For God with tags , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by cavalier973

A pretty good review.