The Begrudging Brother (Luke 15:11-32)

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”  (Luke 15:25-32)
 Learn it:

            Today we are looking at the parable to the prodigal son.  It is fairly well known, and I want to focus more on the older brother.  The one that has been faithful the whole time to his father, while his younger brother wasted away the inheritance he received.  The older brother represents the Pharisee’s in Jesus’ time.  They felt superior to other people and did not want everyone coming to know God.  They felt they had been loyal longer and God should bless them and not new converts. 

Towards the end of the parable the older brother is outside arguing with his father about the party and celebration that is going on.  The father, which represents God, is loving and compassionate.  He wants to celebrate the return of the lost son and he wants the older brother to join in.  The story ends with a cliff hanger.  We do not know how the older brother responds to is father’s invitation.  Is he going to go into the party and celebrate or is he going to stay outside and be bitter?  The reader is left to think about what they would do in that same situation.

 Live it:

            This parable shows the deep love of God.  He freely gives to us the ability to live our lives the way we want to.  We can squander all the blessings he has given us and yet he is there waiting to welcome us back.  He will forgive all sins.  Past, present, and future.  When a person repents of their sins and turns to God it is a cause for celebration!  Sometimes we can have jaded hearts and question whether a person has genuinely repented or not.  We then keep a close eye on them and maybe even find ways to test them to see if they have really changed.  Is that what a loving Christian should do?  Jesus Christ tells us we are to forgive them and welcome them into the body of Christ.  Of course, if a person does slip up then we are to address that, but we should not hold them at arm’s length and judge them.  If you were the older brother how would you respond to father’s invitation?  Would you go in and celebrate or would you stay outside? 

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