Several weeks ago, my 8th grade classes tested over the Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. We spent several days looking at this well-known parable which is really two stories of two very different brothers. You know the gist. The younger son of a wealthy man demands his share of the estate and the father gives it to him. The boy goes far away and blows the fortune it took decades to amass. When he hits rock bottom and comes to his senses, he makes the long trip home, preparing his apology. But, the father sees him and sprints to his youngest, setting off a celebration. However, the older, responsible son is angry that the father has accepted his nere-do-well sibling and refuses to join in the party. We explained the father represents God, the older son is the Pharisees, and the Prodigal stands for sinners who come home. In a discussion question last week, the students had to write a sequel to the story. Here is a sampling. Girls are in pink, boys in blue, and all used by permission. Warning- they don't all have perfectly happy endings!
When the oldest son went inside, he hugged his brother. The youngest boy was so happy he began to cry and older son began to cry. The next day, everyone was happy to see the youngest son but the older brother was starting to get jealous of him. The youngest brother was doing his best not to mess up, but the older brother didn’t trust him. Their father had a decision for both of the sons to take an offering to God and to pray about their sins being forgiven. On their way, the youngest tries to talk to the older brother but he kept turning away from him and avoiding him. While walking to the temple, the oldest boy confronts him and threatens to kill him if he tries anything. The youngest boy swears he has nothing to do with his past life. They prayed at the temple and returned home. The end.
That night, the older son had a dream. In this dream, an angel came to him and told him to forgive his brother. In that same night, the older son woke up his brother and talked to him, forgave him, and they became close. A few days later, the father became very ill and died. Only the older son got his inheritance because the father didn’t rewrite the will before he died. Knowing this, the younger son still became angry and confronted his older brother, telling him he deserved his share. The older brother informed him he threw it all away the first time, so he didn’t get any. One night, the younger son killed his brother in his sleep and he got all the inheritance. But soon, he died from the same sickness his father had and no one got the inheritance.
After the party, once the guests left, the younger brother was feeling good. The older brother was upset and was never going to forget it. Once the father passed away, the older was at least happy he was in the will. He becomes more upset when he sees his younger brother gets more inheritance again. The older brother is now furious. He wants to take all of his anger out on his brother. He pretends to have forgiven him and they become really close, so close he tells his brother where all the money is and gives him access. The older brother takes this as an opportunity to get what he wants. He takes all the money then moves several miles away. He never feels guilty and the younger brother lives in misery. In the after-life, the oldest is the one who is in actual misery and the youngest is able to give back most of the money. It all works out for the good.
Eleven years later, the father dies and the younger brother finds out that he isn’t in the will. He becomes furious and plans to kill the older brother. He first goes to the older brother’s house and says he wants to have a share of your inheritance. The older brother says no. They then they start fighting. The soul of the father comes and tells them to stop fighting and tells the younger brother the reason he is not in the will.
While the father was on the death bed, he put the youngest son back in the will. The older brother was outraged by this, as it left less for him. The younger brother saw the hatred in the older brother’s eyes, so he gave his share to him. The father smiled and whispered, “forgive him” to the older son and as the father died slowly, the older son was humbled and lovingly embraced his brother. The younger brother desired to be a servant of the older brother and wouldn’t accept promotion. Eventually the older brother died and he left his entire estate to him.
I think that the father died one year exactly after the older brother refused to come in and celebrate and the older brother took 2/3 of the rest of the family estate. The younger brother implies that he still needs some more of the family estate and hewill not leave him without it. The older brother brings up again what had happened only a year before and he runs off with the money. He comes back after making the same mistake the younger brother did and now has absolutely nothing. He finds his younger brother who has mercy on his older brother and lets him live with him.
Later in the story, the dad still praises the younger son. Everything the dad gets, he gives part to the younger son. All of this makes his brother furious. The older was about to go and run away but soon realized that he didn’t have much. The older brother goes to the younger and threatens to kin him if he doesn’t start giving him some of the stuff. The younger brother starts giving him stuff and soon enough he gets enough to run away. The younger brother finds out that he is running away and tells the father everything. The older brother is extremely mad! He murders the younger brother, runs away, and is never seen again.
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