December 15, 2011
Most of us know the story. Luke 15:11-32 talks of two sons who have an inheritance to collect from their wealthy father, the younger of whom asks for his and leaves home with it. The elder son works the land and obeys what his father asks of him. After the younger son spends all of his money and experiences a great famine, he becomes hungry and decides to go back home. His father sees him coming and runs toward him, thankful that he is back.
The younger son tells his father that he has lived a wild life of glutony and he is sorry for his actions. The father then dresses him and kills a calf for everyone to feast on. When the elder son hears of his brother’s return and the celebration being thrown for him, he becomes angry. His father had never thrown such an extravagant party for him and he felt that it was unfair since the younger brother had made so many bad choices. He had never lived the way the younger brother did.
When this story is told, it usually revolves around the younger brother and what it meant for him to repent and learn from his mistakes. You might be able to relate more to one of the brothers more than the other, but you can’t completely ignore the faults of the elder brother. He shows his sin in a different way. He, perhaps, is more lost than the younger brother because he has prided himself on his disciplined life, but he has, in turn, established a sense of entitlement and superiority. He has become selfish in his thinking and does not see the good in his brother’s return.
The elder son is told in Luke 15:31-32, “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 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.’”
It is so easy to see the forgiveness and love that the father offers to his younger son, which doesn’t necessarily seem deserved. It’s a good representation of God’s love for us and how He has forgiven us. We should all celebrate our faithfulness to God and be proud of others who live a life of discipline and good deeds, but we should also rejoice with those who have found their way back.
Which brother do you relate more to?