By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
July 13, 2014
This parable answers questions about the heart of the Father.
I. The younger brother’s sin:
A. He disobeyed and rebelled against the father by breaking all normal protocol. He rejected the father’s control. He wanted the father’s “stuff” but not the father himself. This son was publically disgracing his father who would look weak when he sold his assets off early.
B. He lives a sinful life wildly in gentile country.
C. The son hits bottom when he is out of money, working with pigs (which are hated by Jews). He brought this on himself and family. Like the younger son, we need to feel the depth of our sin and cry out to the Father. We rebel against God’s control over our lives, and disobey. We also need to find God’s forgiveness.
II The older brother’s sin:
This responsible, obedient brother felt that the father’s decision violated his sense of justice and he became angry. He resented the control of his father who made the decision to celebrate the transformation of the younger brother.
He addressed the father disrespectfully: “this son of yours”.
He broke protocol and would not attend the feast.
Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees, who were just like the elder brother with the white-collar sin of religious, self-righteous people who believe that our own behavior is good enough.
The older brother showed his self-righteousness by his bad attitude, his embarrassment, and his lack of forgiveness.
III. The love of the Father: Focus of Parable
Both sons were lost and needed a Savior. We need to admit our sin and be dazzled by the love of the Father!
The Father responded to the younger son by breaking protocol and running to him. He restored this son as a member of the family, not as a servant.
The Father responded to the older son by assuring him that “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31) The Father was always with him and for him. He invited this son back to the party.
The heart of the Father is to love His sons, always!
Yet unresolved: Jesus never tells us what the older brother did. He also was also, by this parable, inviting the Pharisees to repent and join the feast. Their responses are unknown.
We all are invited to join the feast, to accept the Father’s love, and reflect it to others.