The Prodigal Allegory

Here’s a great article by my friend Ken Nichols, a man who is prophetic in hearing the new things the Spirit is saying to the churches in this time. Listen to what God says as you read it:

The following is a retelling of the Prodigal Son story [Edit: Luke 15:11–32], using the popular “penal substitutionary atonement” (PSA) model as a guide. (Note: like most allegories, this won’t ‘fit’ perfectly, but is done to make a point.) (Note 2: If you don’t know what “penal substitutionary atonement IS, a quick Google search will give you all you need to know.) (Note 3: This retelling uses The Message version as the original “base” for the story, so I wouldn’t have to make my part sound all “spiritual”.)

“There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’

So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.”

And when he arrived home, he found the front door locked. He knocked at the door and heard his father’s voice say, “Who is it?” from inside the house. The son gave his speech: ‘Father, it’s your son. I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ And the Father said, “That’s true, and I appreciate the apology. That’s a good first step towards mending our relationship.” The son said, “Well, can I come in?” The father opened the door and came out. “Not yet.” the father said. “We still need to deal with this sin problem. You see, you have to be punished for what you’ve done to me before I can accept you as my son again. I can’t just let you ‘get away with it’. A price must be paid.” By that time the older brother had discovered what was happening and also came out of the house just as the father was explaining the problem.

The father continued, “And unfortunately, my laws demand that blood must be spilled in order to forgive you. I’m sorry, but these are the conditions required to grant you restoration in my household.”

The father said to the older brother, “Son, go get my rod from the barn. Your brother must be punished.” The son obeyed, but when he got back, he felt compassion on his brother, who after the famine and all, wasn’t in too great a shape anyway. He was afraid that the beating might be too much for him, and was concerned he might die.

“Father,” he said, handing him the rod, “beat ME instead.” His father was shocked but also proud that his eldest son would step up and volunteer for such a thing. Even though he knew this son was innocent he said, “That’s fine. As long as justice and the law are satisfied, that will pay the debt your brother owes.” He then called for one of his farmhands and handed him the rod. The youngest son seemed confused so the Father explained, “Oh, I can’t do it MYSELF. I don’t actually punish people directly. I have someone else do it at my command.” To the farmhand, “And remember, blood has to be spilled, so don’t hold back.”

The farmhand, who was angry with the son concerning things we won’t get into here, proceeded to beat the oldest son nearly to death (It would take a “miracle” to revive him). The father was pleased to see him suffer and all the spilled blood. The price had indeed been paid. He opened his arms to the younger son and said, “I forgive you! Now we can be together again.”

However, by this time, the son wasn’t so sure what to think. He loved his brother, for sure, for taking his place, but his father was scary. Honestly, he just wasn’t sure if he could be trusted after this display of violence. So, he hesitated.

His father admonished him, “Come on. This is how my love and justice work together. And if you don’t accept me now. I might have to walk you over to the outhouse where you’d have to go live. Trust me, it’s not someplace you want to be.” “Why?”, the son said. “I thought the price was paid.” The Father replied, “Only if you ACCEPT all this and love me. Otherwise, we will be separated forever.”

Ken has asked me to provide a link to his Facebook page in case anyone wants to contact him about the article. Click here to be taken to Ken’s page.

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