One of the best known parables Jesus told was the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The younger son is a runaway who defiantly seeks fulfillment through worldly pursuits. He eventually comes to his senses and returns to his father in hopes of receiving mercy (mercy is less punishment than you deserve). Instead, his father gives him grace (grace is no punishment - it is complete forgiveness). This younger son is the picture of our obvious sins and the grace our Father extends us through the cross. But I recently read a piece focused on the older son. The premise was that there are two prodigals in this parable. The older son is just as lost as his younger brother. His jealousy and judgmental attitude reveal a heart that feels it never received what it was due. He is caught in the dangerous ground of comparison. He firmly believes he is better than his brother. This deep seated thought of "I'm not so bad" has a profound affect on believers and unbelievers alike. It keeps unbelievers from ever realizing they need a savior in the first place - "Why do I need to find my father… it's not like I'm living in the pigpen…". For believers, it chokes out the love, forgiveness, and closeness that Christ wants us to have. The father tells this older son "…everything I have is yours.". He was living in scarcity amongst his father's abundance.
One question to ponder this week: Do I have all that Jesus died to give me? All the joy, love, peace, forgiveness, freedom, etc… Or is pride, comparison, jealousy, unforgiveness, judgmentalness choking it out?
This week let's pray about this older son in all of us.
Have a great week and a great fast.
3 years ago