Are you caught off guard by the love of God?
One brother loves his father and is obedient to stay home and work. The other brother decides he’d like to go enjoy life with his portion of his father’s inheritance. In that culture, asking for your portion of the inheritance was the same as saying ‘I wish you were dead.’
The son who receives his inheritance leaves town, travels a distance, and squanders every last piece of the resources. When he returns home, anticipating rejection but acceptance, the father welcomes him with open arms. While the father is busy organizing a homecoming party, the older brother is resentful and angry.
“It really is the parable of the two lost sons.”
We can easily paint the younger, foolish brother as the son in need of saving. But the older brother is also misguided, because he thinks he needs to earn his father’s love.
“You can either be religious or rebellious – and both can be far from the heart of God.”
The parable proves you can stay home and still be lost.
“The older son thinks he’s entitled to a party and entitled to all this rejoicing and being celebrated over just because he keeps the rules.”
Sin can do this. It can deceive us into thinking we’re good enough to not need God, or too sinful to even be considered as His child. But the real scandal in the story is not just the son. It’s the father!
“It’s easy to get my head around a self-righteous older brother. It’s easy for me to get my mind around a crazy younger brother out squandering his inheritance. What’s striking is the father, and the immediacy and depth of the father’s forgiveness.”
Picture the father running to the younger brother while he was a long way off. Picture him throwing his arms around his tired, dirty, rebellious son and kissing and hugging him. Picture the servants gathering for a party, preparing to honor one brother while the other is sidelined with bitterness. This is how God sees us. This is His invitation to us.
Two sons. Two prodigals. Two brothers in deep need of knowing that they are loved.
“And the father is pleading, and giving grace to both of them.”