What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks, "Do you love me?" We ask, "Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom?" (Mt. 20:21). We have been tempted to replace love with power.--Henri Nouwen
Nouwen's take on this parable and painting--the motives of each son and the father, how it relates to the church today, and the ambiguous ending that calls for the readers/viewers to make their own decision about how to respond to the Father--is filled with rich insight that will stay with me always. This book is truly a masterpiece, a book that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
And since this book is about the prodigal son parable, I thought I would include a clip from the movie, Jesus of Nazareth. It is absolutely my favorite cinematic interpretation of this parable. The filmmakers chose to set Jesus in Matthew's house, dwelling among sinners, while Peter and the other disciples stand outside, refusing to enter, lest they become "unclean." The parable of the prodigal son thus becomes an agent of reconciliation between Matthew (a prodigal son type) and Peter (the elder son type). It's a beautiful truth of the gospel.