The Gospel of Luke | Prodigal Part III | Luke 15.25-32 |

by | Sep 14, 2021

”Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15.25-32

It’s sometimes difficult to be happy when others don’t get what they deserve. The younger son, was obviously not innocent. He did bad things to himself and to others. He left his father, took his inheritance, squandered his life and sacrificed his soul. He should get what was coming to him or so thought the older brother.

But isn’t it good that we don’t always get what we have coming to us? Isn’t it good that we don’t get everything we ask for? If we did, I wouldn’t be here writing this reflection!

What the older brother missed and what we glean from this story is grace. If justice is getting what we deserve than mercy is getting what we haven’t earned. The younger brother deserved death, banishment and isolation from his family. But the father awarded him grace, mercy and love. It was so expected, so unearned, so amazing. The older brother was shocked and upset that one who treated the father with such disrespect would deserve such positive treatment.

But the truth is, we have all sinned and fallen short of Gods glory. This is another point Jesus is making in this story of the parable. None of us deserve grace. Even those of us who are seemingly well-behaved don’t deserve us. For there was only one person who was perfectly pleasing to God and without sin — Jesus the Christ.

The older brothers’ response has been mine at times when I see people who are evil get good gifts, forgiveness or rewards. It’s my own pride creeping up when I watch people get promotions, accolades and awards. But I realize the first step to dealing with this is always seeking humility. Celebrating the successes and even the forgiveness of others matters to God and should matter to us as well.

The older brother owned everything his father owned. The father even says that, “Everything I have is yours!” We share in God’s Kingdom. It is ours for the taking, on earth and in heaven. Let’s welcome others in — the sinners, the sick and the prideful. Like Jesus, let’s view everyone as we were once viewed, as prodigals with a promise.

Will you rejoice with me in those who are lost being found? Will you pray to God that those who do not yet have a home secured in heaven will come to the Father above and seek communion? Joining with Jesus has been the best thing of my life.

Can you say the same for yourself?

”O Lord God, you are good. I thank you for loving me. Even when I turn away, your love is steadfast. Even when I fail, fumble and faulter you are there. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Forgive my sins. Help me to be humble as I help grow your Kingdom. By your grace and for your glory. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen