The Parties of the Prodigal
Luke 15 begins with Pharisees and scribes grumbling about the people Jesus entertains. They accuse him of eating with "sinners," and they have trouble understanding why Jesus, a rabbi, a holy man, would do this. As Jesus so often does, he tells them a series of stories concluding with the famous parable of the prodigal son where a son demands his inheritance ahead of time, leaves for a far-off country with no plans to return and then squanders it all. When the son returns, the father is faced with a dilemma, Do I accept my son's return or not? Only, there's never any question in the father's mind. Instead, as soon as he sees him from a far-off distance, he runs to meet him and welcome him home because, in his words, "my son was dead, and is alive again."