Luke 15: 11-32
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 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. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 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.' "
In both my eighth grade and sophomore classes, we have been looking at the story of the Prodigal Son, the great parable of Jesus from Luke 15. We spent some time discussing which of the two brothers most parents would prefer and how the father was represented by God, the older brother was the Pharisees, and the younger brother stands for sinners who come home. We know how the older brother was furious when his wayward sibling comes home and how he refused to join in the celebration. We then pondered and wrote down our ideas on whether the older son had the right to be angry. Here are some responses. (we will look at some more in the coming days.)
"I understand why the older brother was angry. He was jealous of his younger brother, that he got a big party just because he came back home. He even spent all the money he got from his father. But, I think the older brother shouldn't have been angry. He should have been happy that his own brother came back home with his family. I might have suggested that the younger brother get the "right" punishment for what he has done make him repent that he would never do it again, if I were older brother. I wouldn't be angry just because he is my family and I love him. (I might be a little jealous though.)"
"I think it's not right for the older brother to be angry. He needed to understand what is more important for a sinner. Is it to stay away from the family or come back home? When a sinner is repenting, we would bless him, because he has come back and God has forgiven his sins. So, if somebody does something wrong, don't stay away from him- we should help him, and wait for him because he will be back."
Cheng Yao Bian
"If I were in the older brother's position, I would be angry/jealous, too. I mean, it doesn't seem fair to always be obedient and do what's right then not get rewarded for it, but the one that does everything wrong gets a party. As for my situation, I love my sisters, so if they ever left then came back, I would rejoice with my parents as well."
"Arrogance is never accepted by most people. In fact it usually causes anger and gnashing of teeth. The older brother in the prodigal son represents the pharisees that looked down on the people of Israel and viewed themselves as the ultimate example of being Christ-like. So when Jesus told them how a sinner, the younger brother in the story, represents they are greater than the Pharisees get angry because of their arrogance. They have no reason to be angry with God and they are wrong to be angry for if they have done no wrong God will openly accept them too."
Applicable quote of the day:
"If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.”Vance Havner
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org