Luke 15: 11-32 contains one of the most widely preached parables of Jesus. The parable of the prodigal son.
It talks about a Father’s forgiving love and a son’s repentance. The verses 11 to 24 contain this core message.
But my attention was always focused on the rest of the parable.
I believe that the rest is just as important as the first portion.
If the story was to end happily ever after, Jesus could have ended it at the 24th verse having drawn the picture of an ever loving Heavenly Father and the sinful people, BUT he went on. Further another character of whom only the existence was told in Luke 15:11 in a fleeting phrase of ‘2 sons’ was reintroduced into the picture. What could be the purpose behind this guy’s role in that parable??
Theologians say that the elder son symbolized the Scribes and Pharisees, who found fault with Jesus for kindly receiving the sinners who came to him.
However, being born and bought up in a Christian background, I always wondered if this could be co-related to many church goers’ of today. ‘The so called upright, holy regular church goers.’ They attend every prayer, diligently participate in all spiritual activities, worship like there is no tomorrow, has never strayed a bit from the side of heavenly Father since the day they met Jesus.
Oh, but he elder son is the one who is an angry and adamant guy who did not know nor understand the depth of love and forgiveness, right? How can he be like the holy sons and daughters of God? That is where I would love to explain more.
First, let us learn about the qualities, the good ones, of this elder son. This elder guy:
- Worked for His father
“Now the older son was in the field”
The day of the younger son’s return, the elder brother came back from the field after his work there. The guy was a diligent worker. He spent his time in the fields watching over his father’s property, working in his fields. Now the word of God has portrayed this world as the field for missionary work many a times (Matthew 9:37-38) . So the eldest son was a worker in the field which can easily be co-related to all of us who are as by command (Matthew 28:19-20) workers in His field.
- Served His father
Luke 15: 29
‘….See, all these years I have been your servant…..’
He served his father like a good son. Every day for the past years he served his father like any good son would do. He was so clear on this aspect that he could rightly say that ‘I have been your servant’. So are the believers, born and bought up in christian background, they’ve never slept one day without prayer and bible reading every occasion. So clean that they rightly stand up and say ‘Lord, I’ve served you so far’
- Stayed with his father
Unlike the younger one who left his dad to enjoy with the world, this one was so committed that he never wandered away from the sides of His father. He roseup every morning, worked in his Father’s fields and slept next to his dad, never even imagining a life away from his Father. In every prayer of ours ‘ Lord there is no life for me without you’ is a regular phrase. So was the elder son’s life.
‘…doing your orders in everything…’
The elder son was an obedient one. He followed his father’s orders. His father’s words ruled his life like the way the word of God rules over the life of every believer. His words and actions were that of a true obedient son.
- No entertainment
‘…Never…… I might have a feast with my friends:..’
The guy was so spiritual that he didn’t even party with his friends. He never had a feast with his friends. Such was the devotion to his father.
Now, where did he go wrong???
Let us see his complaint :
Luke 15:29 , 30
‘But he made answer and said to his father, See, all these years I have been your servant, doing your orders in everything: and you never gave me even a young goat so that I might have a feast with my friends:
But when this your son came, who has been wasting your property with bad women, you put to death the fat young ox for him.’
His complaint was one of pure jealousy.
By Jewish culture, the eldest brother always got a double share (2/3rd in this case) while the others get one share (1/3rd). He was in every way above his brother, financially, spiritually and morally upright.
But he had one problem : he never had a goat to make merry with his friends.
Why would that be so??
Because he forgot how to be his father’s son.
See how the father responds :
Luke 15: 31
‘Son, you are with me at all times, and all I have is yours.’
In essence the father says “ You never asked”. Whoo..that is it??? That is all??
This is the problem with many of us nowadays.
They forget that the king of kings, the one who holds this whole universe in His hands is their father. They believe in His mercy and love but forget the perks of being the son of the Almighty.
Imagine the President’s son living in slums as his father resides in his well furnished house. It is not the father’s fault that his son chooses to be in slums. He could live like the president’s son or like the beggar’s son. It is his fault that he chose to be in slums. It is because ‘he never asked’.
Let us not be like the elder son and forget who our Heavenly father is. Staying with him, serving Him and being obedient doesn’t cover it all. You need to live like the son of the high God. Have the confidence that you can have anything as long as He is your father.
That’s what Phillipians 4:13 says ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’ Have confidence in your father.
He is faithful enough not to leave you halfway.
Believe in His ability.
We sing ‘Jehovah Jireh, my provider’ but forgets to let it penetrate deep in. He is you father. He will provide. Be it finance, peace, blessings, anointing, hope or even love, He will provide.
All that you need is ASK.
So let’s ASK AND BELIEVE.
For you’ve got the BEST FATHER IN THE WORLD
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