February 27, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Today we will finish Act Two of the Three-Act Play, with Scene IV concerning the father’s gracious response to his first-born son’s insolence. The son spoke unkind words when “…his father came out and pleaded with him…” (Luke 15:28) to come in and join the celebration for his younger brother’s return.
• Luke 15:31 – The father said to his elder son, ”Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” As we analyze the elder son’s thinking from the story Jesus is telling, we see he was estranged from his father as much as his younger brother was when he was off in a far country. His idea was, “I have to be good and obedient to stay in my father’s good graces. And then someday I will inherit all his wealth!” His focus was not on loving his father and enjoying the father/son relationship with him. His focus was on the possessions of his father, and that eventually he would own them – when the old man died!
What was lacking in his mindset was that he was already fully accepted into the family and the decisions of the family, and all the family assets were available simply for the asking! After all, hadn’t the father graciously given the younger son his full inheritance early, simply because he requested it?
Do you know, Christian, that God “…has made us accepted in the Beloved?” Who is the Beloved? It is Jesus Christ – Beloved of the Father! When you receive Jesus as your Savior, “…you are in Christ Jesus…” as it says in I Corinthians 1:30. Being in Him, we are accepted by the Father as much as He would accept His own Son! We are born into His family! We are sons and daughters of God! (see John 1:12; John 3:3-5). And Jesus told us in Matthew 7:11:
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how
much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who
Are you acting like you are not a child of the King? Do you think you are not worthy to ask God for what you need? Didn’t Jesus say in John 16:24, “Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full…”?
Can you see why this elder son needed to repent and ‘come home’? The younger son had already done that. Now it was his older brother who needed to repent – to turn from his selfish thinking, his self-righteous attitude!
• Luke 15:32 – “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.” In the elder son’s mind, the father was foolish to welcome his Prodigal Son back into the family, even throwing a big party for the occasion. So the father graciously and patiently laid out three reasons for his actions.
“…your brother….” The elder son had disrespectfully called his brother, “…this son of yours…” (Luke 15:30). He was laying the his brother’s foolish decisions and wasteful living at the door of his father! But the old man gently steered his son back to the truth: “…your brother…” – same father, same family, same privileges!
How often does God have to remind us who believe that we are all equally part of His family? (see Matthew 12:50; Hebrews 2:11; James 2:1-3).
“…your brother was dead and is alive again….” Dead? Yes, spiritually dead according to Ephesians 2:1: “…dead in trespasses and sins….” Paul in Romans 6:1 through 10 even likened new life in Christ to being raised from the dead. “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11).
And the young man might very well have been dead in his self-exile, as far as his family was concerned. They didn’t know if he was living or not! But then, repentant, he had come home (Luke 15:18 through 20).
“…your brother was…lost and is found.” There are three parables with similar themes in Luke 15 – The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4-7), The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10), and The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32). All were lost and then found again! Jesus stated His purpose for coming to earth in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” As this young man was lost and then found again – reinstated to father and home – so we who are lost in sin are found when we come home to God by Jesus Christ!
Whether you have wandered and squandered, and need to come home – or whether you have stayed home in your self-righteousness, Jesus Christ can find you, save you, and reconcile you back to the Father. Come to Him in faith today!