March 6, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Scene I of Act Three of the Three-Act Play, we learned what the elder brother should have done but didn’t. He should have gone after his younger brother, found him and brought him back to his home and family. And we saw how he represented the Pharisees and scribes – the Jewish leaders who were supposed to shepherd the lost sons of Israel – the tax collectors and the sinners (represented by the younger son) and bring them home to God. But they failed, just as the elder brother had.
As pointed out in the last blog, Jesus left off the parable in Luke 15 with some unresolved issues! What was He trying to teach by ending it this way – with the elder brother failing to even comprehend his obvious mission? The Lord was directing our attention to the Elder Brother who didn’t fail – Jesus Christ Himself!
Jesus Christ is the Son of God – “…the firstborn from the dead…” (Colossians 1:18) by means of the resurrection – “…the firstborn among many brethren…” according to Romans 8:29. You see, everyone who by faith accepts Jesus as Savior is born of God – born again (John 3:3 through 5) – and is a son or daughter of God. Jesus Christ is then our Elder Brother! As it says in Hebrews 2:11 – NIV), “So Jesus is not ashamed to call…[us] brothers [and sisters].”
What should the elder brother in the parable have said to his father if instead of being just obedient and self-righteous he was truly good and godly? In the last blog, I postulated his words thus: “Father, I will go to seek and find my brother, and bring him back into our family. It matters not what the hardships; whatever the cost, I will do it!”
This is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us! We are like the younger son! We are naturally estranged from Our Father God, and off in a far country wasting God’s gifts and possessions with prodigal living! The Lord plainly said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” We were lost and needed to be found! And only our Elder Brother – Jesus Christ – could do it!
What hardships did Jesus endure to seek and to save us? What were the costs He paid to redeem us?
• As expressed in Dottie Rambo’s song, If That Isn’t Love, it says of Jesus, “He left the splendors of heaven….” What was so splendid about heaven?
In Revelation we see glimpses of Heaven’s glory:
Revelation 1:13 through 16 describes Christ in glory: “…the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass…and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” So glorious was this vision that John tells us, “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” (Revelation 1:17).
Revelation 4:2 and 3 shows us “…a throne set in heaven…” encircled by an emerald-colored rainbow, and He who sat thereon was reflecting brilliant hues of green and red.
Revelation 4:6 through 9 gives a description of four cherubim around the throne – “…[marvelous] creatures full of eyes in front and in back…” (verse 6), and with four faces – “…a lion…a calf…a man, and…a flying eagle.” (verse 7). Their entire reason for existing is to praise God, as described in verse 8: “And they do not rest day or night, saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
Revelation 7:11 and 12 says that the occupants of heaven – men as well as angels, “…worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ ”
So glorious is it in heaven that Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:9 (quoting Isaiah 64:4): “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
And so glorious is the Lord, as well as His dwelling place, that Paul in I Timothy 6:15 and 16 breaks forth in this praise of Jesus Christ: “…He…is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no [mortal] man has seen or can see….” By the way, this is what Moses also experienced in Exodus 33:18 through 23.
• He left all the glories of heaven behind to come to earth!
And Paul eloquently describes the depth to which Jesus came to seek and to save us in Philippians 2:5 through 8 (NIV):
…Christ Jesus…being in very nature God, did not consider equality with
God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the nature
of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appear-
ance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even
death on a cross.
He came as a servant – as He said in Matthew 20:28 (NIV): “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He performed lowly acts of service, even washing His disciples’ feet in John 13:1 through 5.
Leaving behind all the riches of heaven and all creation – for He created it all and owns it all (see Colossians 1:16, Psalm 50:10-12) – Jesus declared in Matthew 8:20, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
In Monday’s blog, we will continue to explore what it cost Jesus to become our Elder Brother.