Prodigals (part two)

In Jesus’ famous parable, both sons are lost.  The younger son is lost geographically; we can trace his lost-ness with GPS.  The older son is relationally lost; we can trace his lost-ness on the cold and hardened dimensions of his heart.

Despite close proximity, the older son is emotionally distant from his father.  When he hears a celebration on the homestead, he is not filled with joy, eager to join the festivities; no, he is immediately suspicious about what his father might be up to.  What’s more, he refuses to enter the house – an insult to his father, the host.  The younger son upon his return from the far country at least has the decency to address his father respectfully; the older son begins his tirade with “Look here!”  The older son sees his work on the farm not as a partnership with his father but as slavery.  And when he complains that he’s never been able to throw a party for his friends, the older son betrays his feelings against the people currently celebrating – the friends of the family apparently are not his friends.

It’s ironic.  By external appearances, the older son is doing everything right: He’s at home with his father (unlike his younger brother); he’s responsible (unlike his younger brother); he respects the family property and reputation (unlike his younger brother).

Yet this isn’t the relationship the father craves.  When the older son says, “All these years I’ve been slaving for you…” I feel the father’s heart break again.  I hear him thinking, I don’t want a slave.  I want a son.

Older Brother

This parable reminds me that there are different kinds of lost-ness.  Some are obvious, others not so much.

And this parable reminds me of how Jesus comes to save the sinful and the righteous.  Apart from Him, both kinds of sons and daughters are lost.

here via a Google search.

2 thoughts on “Prodigals (part two)

  1. I know two brothers who buried their father last week…Their father and mother were divorced 30 years ago under difficult circumstances. The boys remained close to their mother and rarely saw their father except at holiday dinners …When their father took ill a few years ago the older brother busy with his company and his own family shunted responsiblity for helping his father onto his younger brother.


  2. […] in connection with my preaching (e.g. parable of the vineyard owner; prodigal series parts one, two, three and four).  Nevertheless, I’ll try to post in the next little while a few messages […]


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