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Prodigal God

• Greg Boyd

Typically, we call the famous parable by Jesus “The Prodigal Son,” but that title is actually a bit misleading. The point of the parable is not the younger (Prodigal) son’s recklessly extravagant living. Instead, it’s about God’s recklessly extravagant love.

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The word prodigal refers to actions or persons who are recklessly extravagant or even wasteful to the point of giving of their last resources. Typically, we call the famous parable by Jesus “The Prodigal Son,” but that title is actually a bit misleading. The point of the parable is not the younger (Prodigal) son’s recklessly extravagant living. Instead it’s about God’s recklessly extravagant love.

In this story, we learn that the younger son requested his inheritance, which was the equivalent of wishing the father were dead. The shocking part is that the wealthy father granted the request. At first the son enjoys life, but then famine hit and he can only find work as a pig farmer, an industry that any faithful Jew avoided. While starving, he realized that his father’s hired hands are treated better than this. So he rehearsed a speech to request that his father take him in as one and heads home.

This is where the prodigal nature of the father is revealed in the story. He sees the son from afar and runs to the son and embraces him, kissing him intensely. Even though the son smelled like pigs, his father holds him close. Before he can get his pitch out about being a hired hand, the father screams to his servants to prepare for a party and to set his returned son up as the honored reason for the party. This is a story about God’s prodigal love, extravagant actions that stand in stark contrast to normal reactions.

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Topics: Forgiveness, Love

Sermon Series: Can't Stop the Love


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 15:11-12

    Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

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3 thoughts on “Prodigal God

  1. Gilberto Chavez says:

    WOW I was listening to this at work almost broke down in in my seat! Wow ……….well put Pastor…..

  2. Maria Beaupre says:

    Hello and Bless You God for speaking such beautiful words through Dr. Greg Boyd. I can not begin to tell you how much this message means to soooooooo many of us!
    Praise God!

    Also, I watched this on Stillwater, MN Valley Access Channel 18 today 9-7-12. I came into the program half way and wanted to share this with others I know, so I called VA and asked them what the message was, when Woodland Hill Church could be seen on ch. 18.
    Mike at Valley Access asked me to contact Woodland Hills as he is very interested in receiving Sermons from the church on a regular / direct way (presently a lady in Whitebear Lake brings copies of older sermons to Mile to air on ch. 18).

    Maybe someone can help us out with this request?

    Thank you all!

  3. Hey Maria, could you email me so we can discuss the VA opportunity more? Depending on their capabilities, we may be able to work something out… cswanson@whchurch.org.

    Thanks!

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