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The Older Brother


I love the story of the prodigal son. I think it describes the incredible love that our heavenly Father lavishes over us. The extent of the patience that he shows prodigals in amazing. Even though there is a marvelous reunion, the story continues.

Luke 15:25-32 introduces another brother to the stage. He was the oldest son of the father. He was the responsible one. He was the one who had been compliant and played by the rules. He was the picture of dutiful living. Compared to his prodigal brother, the oldest son looked great. On the outside, anyway.

When the older brother heard of the celebration given because of his younger sibling’s return, he became indignant. Even though he had done all the right things, love was absent from his heart. He wasn’t looking for his brother to come home. And when he came home, he wasn’t happy about it.

The elder brother didn’t cherish the relationship. It’s interesting that he referred to him as “your son,” not “my brother.” The older brother believed he deserved every blessing he possessed. He didn’t have an economy of grace. To him, everything was done in the economy of earning. Even though he has been around his father all of his years, he really knew nothing about his father. He did the father’s work without possessing the father’s love.

One of the hardest things in the Christian life is that when we as prodigals come home to the father’s love, we don’t turn in to the older brother.

God loves prodigals. He will go to great lengths to bring them home. He doesn’t expect the prodigals to behave like mature older brothers. He’s very patient. Our father loves people…prodigal people. His desire is that we join him in loving prodigals, looking for prodigals, running toward prodigals at the first sighting, and riotously celebrating their presence.

I believe that one reason churches in America have become so anemic is because they are more focused on pleasing the older brother than pursuing the prodigals. God invites us to join him in his work of redeeming, reclaiming, and restoring the prodigals.

Categories : Father, God, Prodigal Son

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