The younger son traveled back home to ask his father to take him in and let him work as one of his servants. But his father saw him coming from a long way off, and he ran to meet him. Though his father embraces him, he has come with a contrite heart and acknowledges his guilt. But his father had his servants to clothe him in the best manner he could, and he arranged for a feast to celebrate the return of the son, who for all practical purposes had been dead. But now the lost one had been found.
It is just so with God. There is no sin that we can do that, with a repentant heart, God will not eagerly forgive us. As His children, He joyfully accepts us back, no matter what. And Jesus has told us twice in this chapter how much joy there is in heaven when one sinner repents.
But the older son hears the celebration, and does not come to His father, but instead speaks to a servant to find out what is going on. What does that say about his relationship with his father, especially when he, in his anger, refused to go in? Though his father comes out and “entreats him,” he still will not relent, and he makes his displeasure, disdain, and even jealousy known to his father. He degenerates his younger brother for his sins, and cannot understand why the father is treating him so well. His father wants the elder son to join them, but he also wants him to understand that it is most appropriate to be joyous and to celebrate the return of one who was lost to him.
When the chapter started, back in verse 2, the Pharisees and scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” because Jesus was consorting with known sinners. Jesus had explained in two previous parables how much joy God has for the lost returning to him. But now He is describing the elder brother with the same attitude that the Pharisees had. They felt that they were entitled to a higher degree of regard because they had given years of service to keeping God’s law, as passed down through Moses (albeit, with much of their own agenda thrown into the mix).
God had entreated them to come in by sending his Son, but they had thus far rejected the idea in their anger and disdain for the sinners Jesus receives. The same would be true, even of other Jews, when Gentiles were openly received. The parable ended with the elder son still not coming in. Would he finally come in? The question for those Pharisees, if they heard and understood, was whether they would put away their foolish anger and pride, and come into God’s kingdom as well.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.