Brothers, Managers, and Dead People (Pt. 1)

bible preaching

A few years ago, I noticed that while we often teach the stories in Luke 15 together (the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, etc.), I hadn't heard anyone teach any of them with the connecting stories in chapter 16. But I think Luke is developing a theme we can easily miss. This weekend I began preaching through a three-week series that looks at the last story in chapter 15 and the following two in chapter 16. I call it "Brothers, Managers, and Dead People."

Week one begins with what is commonly known as the story of the "Prodigal Son." In reality, Jesus sets up a story about a father who has two sons and then proceeds to tell how both sons miss the point. Therefore, I feel it's more appropriate to think of it as a story of brothers.

The story serves as a great way to see how we compare ourselves with those around us when determining the value of what we have. We tend to get stuck in a game of relative value. This can be explained through things like mimetic theory:

"Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires.” René Girard (1923–2015)

Not to mention that the view of God Jesus portrays in this story is still scandalous to most Christians today.  Are we opting out of the party God is throwing?

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