(31) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. (32) It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.Luke 15:31-32
After hearing his sons accusations, and seeing the attitudes of resentment that were expressed in unforgiveness, self-righteousness, and entitlement, the father addresses the elder son.
The father went out to the first son, and the second son.
The father listened to the words of the first son, and the second son.
The father responded in a loving way to the first son, and this is an expression of love to the second. Look at what he said:
(31) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
The father did acknowledge that this elder son did not leave. He acknowledged that his son is still his son. He also acknowledged that the son will still get an inheritance. The elder son was complaining to the dad about not getting a goat, when the dad was working for the whole estate to be passed down to His son. So there is a sense in which His dad was trying to help him think rightly again.
(32) It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
The father is telling the older son that it was appropriate to party. Why? The theme from verse 24 is repeated again here. Your brother was lost and dead. Now he is alive and is found with the family. Notice, the father did not call him “my son”, but rather called him “thy brother”. The elder brother had called the prodigal “thy son” before. The father’s response to that was to call him “thy brother.” The father makes it clear that mercy, grace and forgiveness are not unjust. There is nothing owed to the elder son that the father would not do for him.
Notice that the story ends here without a response from older brother. It is left open ended. Why? Well, let’s remember to whom this whole narrative is directed. Look at Luke 15:1-3, at the beginning of this story.
Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. (2) And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. (3) And he spake this parable unto them, saying,Luke 15:1-3
This story was directed to the self-righteous. Jesus was lovingly and directly pointing to their attitudes of resentfulness, unforgiveness, and entitlement. One prodigal had gone off to a far country, sinned openly, come to his senses and returned to the father. One prodigal stayed home and resented his father with an attitude of self-righteousness and entitlement. He had never sinned as openly and overtly, but he did not have a right relationship with his father. Jesus loved and died for these self-righteous people who saw themselves as better. Jesus wanted them to know that the sin that won’t be forgiven is the sin that is not confessed.
This is a parable to the “good person”. This is a parable to the person who thinks they are good enough to get to God on their own. God loves everyone, and desires that everyone be saved. The person who will not be saved is the one that does not confess their sin to God, and acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Son of God who died on the cross for sins.
- Are you poor in spirit, confessing your sin to God, or do you see yourself as better than others and not needing God’s forgiveness?