“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.”
Jesus appears critical of the elder brother –and with good reason! The elder brother in the story has to be Him – and the religious leaders of the time have painted Him, through their representative lives and interpretation of God, as mean, grasping and unattractive. The true Jesus now stands before them in glorious contrast and reality – filled with love, openness and grace – and they will have nothing to do with Him! Yet it is the real Jesus who reveals the character of the Father, portrayed in the story, and not the imaginary one.
- “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” ( John 14:9)
- “I and the Father are one.”(John 10:30)
- “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
Far from complaining about His ‘younger brother’ He has come to find him and take Him home again to delight their Father. Far from criticising the celebration He instigates it. Far from implying that the younger son should not now live on His, the elder brother’s inheritance, He shares it with him, and us.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17)
Jesus is revealing God, and Himself, as warm, open, love-filled, generous, forgiving and passionately life-giving to those who will accept Him. Yet the religious leaders preferred the cold certainty of the laws that were subject to their own interpretation, and not only turned their backs on Him, but plotted to destroy Him.
It was no easy option, but
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Ensure that your Jesus is the real, loving Son and not the unreal, unpleasant imaginary one!
Lord Jesus please help me to believe (increasingly) in Your great love and to love and trust You. Amen.