It has been rightly argued elsewhere that in the earthly kingdoms and governments, one needs to stand ‘politically connect’ to get favours from those calling the shots.
The people behind this notion believe that people who are not standing politically connect suffer difficult challenges to get what they need in life, including jobs.
Jesus Christ’s disciples too shared this line of thinking. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates how the disciples misunderstood the mission of Jesus on earth.
It is important to note that Christ frequently used parables to illustrate profound, divine truths and drive home a point to his disciples.
The disciples’ reaction to the parable of the prodigal son gives us an impression that disciples believed they had bought their way to heaven by virtue of being close to Christ.
Probably, they were not far from the truth. Weren’t they close to the powers that be Jesus?
In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus says a certain man had two sons. The man was forced into dividing his property between the sons following a request from the younger child.
Upon getting his share, the younger son set off for a distant country and there he squandered all his wealth to the point that he shared pods with pigs he was employed to tend.
The Bible says when he came to his senses, the prodigal son returned to his father after noting that he could not survive the harsh economic difficulties in the foreign land.
He said to himself: “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”
The Bible says the father was filled with love and compassion upon seeing the wayward son return home safely.
“And that is where my worry is,” hints Connex Chizebe of Chisenga Village, Traditional Authority M’mbelwa in Mzimba.
“From this parable, one can see a God who denounces evil while at the same time condoning it. We learn that God is just. However, the parable in question contradicts the course of justice by rewarding the wayward son with more love and wealth,” explains Chizebe.
Chizebe thinks the prodigal son deserved some punishment as is the case when an employee confesses or pleads guilty to misappropriation of their employer’s money.
The older son had similar feelings when he grumbled: “All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes, you kill the fattened calf for him.”
By making this statement, the older son was simply accusing the father (God) of being inconsiderate and unjust to him.
Reverend Bannet Magawa-Zimba of Mabiri CCAP Church says by giving ‘prodigal sons’ second chances, the father [God] proved His justness and consideration.
Zimba says while ‘stiff punishments’ could serve to deter would-be offenders, the justice of God requires Him to give sinners second chance to reflect on and repent their sins.
“The purpose of God is to give every person, including the most sinful, a chance to repent and get saved. And this runs contrary to world expectations that any wrongdoer must receive their deserved punishment. It is for this reason that some disciples and Pharisees hated Jesus because He loved both sinners and the perceived holy,” he explains.
Zimba emphasises that God’s readiness to forgive sinners does not mean He is unjust to the ‘holy’.
“It simply signifies His love for all, irrespective of our weaknesses. We need to appreciate that every human is imperfect. And that is why God sent his Son to die on the Cross to save us from hell,” he explains.