The Prodigal Son and His Brother

Read Luke 11:15-32. You may already be familiar with it, but please read it anyway.

The father in this story of course represents God. He will forgive and rejoice when His children return to Him. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away or how much you’ve wasted, God loves His children and will never disown them. It also doesn’t matter how unenthusiastic His other children are about their lost brother’s return. God will come and talk about it with you.

If you haven’t picked up on it, spoilers! I’m comparing both sons to us.

Sometimes we’re the prodigal son. Sometimes we go astray and then try to make our own way out of it. But when we realize we can’t we go back to our Father. We go intending to ask forgiveness, hoping that we’ll at least get out of our mess even though we don’t really deserve that. On our way and before we even get to Him, God is already right there to welcome us right back, and to do more than we thought and more than we deserve. (In Luke 11:20-24, the father is so overwhelmed with compassion for his son that he runs to him, hugs and kisses him, and does not even let him finish his practiced speech of asking forgiveness and help.)

But sometimes we’re the prodigal son’s brother. Sometimes we see someone come back to God and everything goes well for them. Everyone is so happy that they are back! Meanwhile here we’ve been doing exactly what God told us to do, not getting into any big trouble. No one’s ever really made a big deal out of that. And now our lost brother is finally home, and we can’t be happy about it even though it is appropriate to celebrate. (In Luke 11:32, the Greek words speak of it as being necessary to rejoice.)

Whichever brother you are, the Father loves you both very, very much. He is happy that you are both His dear children!

Extra note: In Luke 11:28, where it says his father came out, the Greek word for “intreated” speaks of calling near, inviting, and also has to do with consolation.


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