Like Esau?

There is an unexpected allusion to the reunion of Jacob and Esau in the Gospels. It is another reunion story with an uncertain outcome at the start, another story with two sons.

In Luke 15 Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son and the gracious father. After the younger son disrespects his father and leaves the family, he takes a journey into a far country. He eventually loses all that he has and decides to try his luck at home. Jacob doesn’t quite match the pattern since he left his father empty-handed and returned to his homeland in prosperity. But it’s the father who is the interesting connection.

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him kissed him” (verse 20). These are three of the four verbs used in Genesis 33:4 when Jacob returned. What is exceptional is that the father in Jesus’ parable is like Esau.

It is a parable, so not everything represents something. But the point of this parable is the eager, glad reception of the father to his sinful child. Jesus alluded to this sort of reception of Jacob by Esau. And if Esau, the non-chosen, previously enraged, older brother can gladly run and embrace Jacob, how much more God the Father?

How can we know that? The Father sacrificed His very Son to reconcile us. We were lost, now we’re found. So we eat and drink at the Father’s celebration with our family.