The Prodigal Part II

We think the story could end there but it doesn't.

It goes on to the second son, and this tells us about the nature of hell.
When the second son heard the joyful celebration, the feast, the dancing, the making merry, the joy, he asked some of the servants, "What's going on?" and they tell him, "Your brother has returned and your father has killed the fatted calf."

The second son is livid. And it tells us so much about about so much of religion in the encounter that takes place between that other son.

The father comes out and just begs him, begs him with all humility, he begs him to come to the feast, and the son just launches into the father, and he says,

"You know this son of yours.."

--he doesn't call him his brother

He says, "This son of yours that you who gave half the inheritance to, who just squandered it all with prostitutes and evil living, this son of yours, now you receive back and are giving a big party. You've never given me a party like that."

Ro hear the anger, not just disappointment, but rage, anger, that the son has to his father. There you begin to see what kind of father he would be, and what kind of God he would believe in.

"We who are sinners in the hands of an Angry God," that's the God of this other son.

We hear a reflection or Distortion of how he sees his father.
"I've worked for you all these days all these years I've worked for you and you've never given me a feast"

All the accusation anger of the son towards his father.

His father says,

"You're my son, you're my beloved son. Everything I have is yours. I'm happy to give you everything."
But the son can't hear it because of the distortion, because he thinks that the father is really like him, angry. He can't understand why the father didn't just simply smash his son, his prodigal son, when he came home.

Why didn't he throw him into the fire? Why didn't he destroy him? Why didn't he call down lightning from Heaven?

The other son just can't comprehend his father, and you see how far away he is.

The son says,
"I lived with you all my life. I always did what you wanted. I followed your laws. I followed your rules. I took care of you."

But the truth is he lived farther away from his father than the prodigal son ever went. He never knew his father. He had no comprehension or idea of who his father really was, and is that his father is love, and would give him everything his very life

The father gently says to the son,
"Could you find in your heart some joy because your brother was dead and now is alive?
Could you find any joy in that that he was dead and now is alive or would you prefer your brother dead?"
Which is a way of saying,
Would you want to murder him with your anger and hatred for him?

For me the question I often ask at the end of this teaching is to ask those who listen,

"Did the Elder son come into the feast or did he remain out outside the feast?
Did he come in or did he stay outside?"

And when I've taken hands, just raise your hand, it's usually about half and half. About half the people think he stayed outside.
Half the people say he came in.
Then they always ask me, what is it in the story? What was Jesus's story did he come in or not?

Jesus doesn't tell us, he leaves that an open question because it's the question for you and me will we come into the feast or will we we remain outside angry and vindictive wrathful.
If we remain outside it will be hell for us.

If we go in we will have to go in with love and a gratitude and thanksgiving that our brother was dead and now alive,
and that we rejoice in that in the resurrection, that we forgive all, we forgive even those who are our enemies, we forgive everyone by the power of the Resurrection.

Which will it be, Heaven or Hell?

The one thing I say that God will not permit is he will not permit that elder son to come in and say this:
"Okay I'll come to your crummy feast, I'll come, but I'll make it hell here. I'll bring hell with me, and I will pout, and be downcast the whole time and angry during the whole feast and bring everybody down.

If he says that to the Father the father will say,
"I don't negotiate with terrorists.
You'll have to stay out until you can come in on the terms of Heaven."
Which is humility, repentance..

contrition: the recognition of one's own sin, and the love of enemies, and the desire for all to find Grace with God.

I think the reason Jesus doesn't tell us in a straightforward and exact way that we could teach on in a class whether he came in or not is because he's speaking this story to a whole group of Pharisees who were the Elder son.

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Self-righteous the fulfillers of every Dot and title of the law they followed every regulation every rule but when God Almighty stood in front of those Pharisees they could not discern the Living God Jesus Christ standing in front of him so far away were their hearts from the Living God and so it is that you can be right concerning the Fulfillment of every law and still go to hell you could be right and even obedient towards every law you could be in submission to every law every rule every Dot and title of the law and still be in hell what do I mean by that still not be in communion with God.

As I told the story in that high school class I saw on the faces of many of these students a strange Wonder a joy on the one hand that this was not the god they had heard about who was this exacting Tyrant of a father demanding their submission and obedience to every law in order to be accepted able to him and to the kingdom I saw a sense of release and relief on the faces even of the Muslim young man [see full version] who would say we've never known God is this kind of father but not just on his face on those who might have been brought up nominally Christian who had heard just moralism rules regulations do this don't do that in order to gain God's approval people who had inherited at least a Christian background or nominal Faith Christianity and there were those who are completely non-religious

the world we live in today that is so nonreligious ious but so moralistic if you're not doing the right thing you'll be canell overnight you'll be out into the outer kingdom of darkness and of the celed culture and so forth even the non-believer materialistic people today are so self-righteous in their moralistic and rulebased law-based whatever ever side of the spectrum they're on

I saw the faces of of people who have inherited all of those Traditions look with relief Joy unbelief

could there be a God that really is a God Like This who will not settle for for our broken Twisted lives in the pig pans but calls us back to the Splendor and Glory of what he created us to be and what we are to be eternally and the growth we are to grow into unto the ages of Ages? Into the knowledge and love and communion with God?