The Pharisees mumbled in their beards and complained that Jesus had been sitting with sinners and tax-gatherers. He instructed via a parable because Jewish people always looked to place themselves in the parables they heard. The Pharisees would never identify with the younger son, leaving only the older son. “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His Father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. (Luke 15:17-32).
There are two prodigals in this story but only one ends up in the right relationship with the father. Both sons were disrespectful and rebellious but only one repents. The younger begged the father to be allowed to come home while the older brother had to be begged by the father to come inside. The young prodigal said he was not worthy to be a son, while the older brother thought his father was not worthy to be treated as a father. The younger was happy to join the unrelated servants, while the older prodigal was unhappy to join his own brother. The younger said that he deserved nothing, thereby relying upon grace, while the older thought his faithful “slaving” deserved a reward. The prodigal son only wanted the father’s presence but for the older son, the father was not enough.
Gospel basics are still the pathway to enjoy our Fathers presence.
Repentance and Faith means we value what He has done for us, more than anything we think we can do for Him. It means believing He is more interested in restoring us to son-ship than He is in our perfect performance.
Grace is the only way to find acceptance with God; no one ever qualifies! We aren’t slaving to find favour or trading our service for blessing. It is a privilege to serve but Father all by Himself, is reward enough.
Receive your Fathers love now. The older prodigal was looking for a better day ahead to enjoy the Fathers blessing. We are not waiting for a better day!
Love who the Father loves. The older son said “This son of yours!” not “this brother of mine.” Love your brothers and sisters because they are important to Him too.
Friend, come inside. It does not matter whether we are coming from the pigsty or a busy field near Father’s house, if we are not inside the house with our Father and feeling Him celebrate over us, we either haven’t understood His heart or heard His voice yet.