The Prodigal Son’s Older Brother:
“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:25-32).
Most of you are probably familiar with the story of the prodigal son. This youngest son said to his father, “I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.” So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. This younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and wasted all his money on wild living. When he finally came to his senses, he said, “At home even the servants have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger. I will go home to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a servant.” So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him! What an amazing story this is, that illustrates for us the love of our Heavenly Father for us. Even when we sin and rebel and backslide, every time we are willing to confess our sins and repent of them, He graciously forgives us.
However, how many of you have heard the story about the prodigal son’s older brother? After the youngest son came home, the father threw a party to celebrate, saying, “Kill the fatted calf. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life.” While this was all happening, the older son had been out in the field. He is the picture of a Christian, out in the harvest fields, faithfully doing the Father’s work. When he came home, he heard the music and dancing, and asked one of the servants what was happening. He discovered that they had thrown a party for his rebellious younger brother, so he refused to go into the house, and got very angry. The father came out to talk to him, and here’s what he said to his dad. “These many years I have been serving you; I never broke your commandments at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him.” He was jealous that the father was making a big fuss over the younger brother, when the father had never thrown a party for him and his friends. How did the father respond to this angry son? He made two very important statements that I pray will encourage your heart today:
“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” As Andrew Murray writes in The Deeper Christian Life, “Here we have two things describing the high privilege of God’s children. First, unbroken fellowship with your Father is your portion, and secondly, all that God can bestow upon His children is theirs. God whispers to His children, “You are always with me. I am always near you. You can dwell every hour of your life in my presence, and all I have is for you. I am a father with a loving father’s heart. I will withhold no good thing from you.” May these two simple truths encourage your heart today: that the Father is ALWAYS with you, and ALL that He has is yours. “And since we are his children, we will share his treasures – for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too.” (Romans 8:17).
Pastor Chris Jordan