I read The Cross And The Prodigal, by Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey a few years ago and it really opened my eyes to the radical nature of Jesus’ parables in a Middle Eastern context. Blew my mind, actually.

Here’s a video I ran across the other day where Dr. Bailey touches upon some of the main themes in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32):

His treatment of this subject in the book mentioned above is far more detailed. When you compare the image of the Middle Eastern Patriarch of Jesus day to the Father in the story of the Prodigal, the good news of the Gospel just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

Some might even say Dr. Bailey’s approach makes the Good News out to be too good. They can take on Dr. Bailey’s scholarship. He knows the culture (which hasn’t really changed much since Jesus day), having spent 40 years (1955-1995) living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus!

On the parables, Dr. Bailey, along with Robert Farrar Capon, is essential reading. Both men are splendid exegetes! As well, Dr. Scott Keith has a chapter covering the Parable of the Prodigal Son in his book which we recently published, Being Dad.

For more of his material and some astounding observations, check out Dr. Bailey’s website.