Shalom Fellow Israelite,
The so named prodigal son of Luke 15:11-32, who left his home, and by squandering his inheritance lost it (and with it also his identity), makes a very interesting statement upon “coming to himself”.
Remembering his father’s house and seeing the result of his actions, he decides to repent and return to what he left behind. And so he is found thinking to himself: “How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants’" (Luke 15:17-19).
This prodigal had become completely impoverished, so much so that he had nothing to live for or on, and his only recourse was to come back to his father. Please note that in his remorse and repentance he does not make any reference to his family, and that includes his older brother, but only to his father. He was fully convicted regarding what he needed to do, and so upon arrival he makes the following confession to his father: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21). Would the father have accepted him back without this open confession? Absolutely! The mere fact that when the father saw his son coming from a distance and ran out to welcome him, shows the latter’s heart attitude. Additionally, that he was returning was already an indication of the son’s repentant and humble stance.
I wonder what would have happened if his brother would have met him first. He might have not even recognized him. Should the returnee have also made the same confession to his brother? Did the older brother have the same heart attitude as the father? This firstborn has worked hard in the fields of his father for the “bread” that the impoverished sibling needed, but again, was he ready to receive his now-humbled kin?
In a similar fashion, we could ask: what is available at this point for those who have recently discovered their Ephraimite identity and desire to return to the land, after over a hundred years of Judah giving their lives, literally, to have what is now their land and nation? Is the older brother ready to welcome the long lost sibling?
If this story truly pertains (at least in part) to the relationship between Judah and Ephraim, there is still something very important that needs to happen to both of them. Ephraim, of course, has to wake up to his condition, humbly repent and return with a servant’s heart. Judah, for his part, will have to continue working in the fields of his father, until the father does the welcoming of the prodigal back to the house. Once Judah hears the sounds of celebration and comes to investigate, will he not hear from the father, and not the brother, these very important words: “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours; It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found”? (Luke 15:31-32 emphasis added)
My dear Ephraimite friends, when the time comes the Father will speak to our brother Judah, conveying these truths, and then the light of revelation will dawn on the Jewish people that by the return of the House of Yosef resurrection life has come to the family.