The elder brother

Most people who read and study The Parable of the Prodigal Son concentrate completely on the character of the younger son, his repentance, and the father’s forgiveness. And yet look at the text. It doesn’t end with the return of the prodigal. Almost half of the story is about the older son. The story is about two sons, who are both alienated from the father, who are both assaulting the unity of the family. Jesus wants us to compare and contrast them. The younger son is“lost”—that is easy to see. We see him shaming his father, ruining his family, sleeping with prostitutes, and we say, “yes, there’s someone who is spiritually lost.” But Jesus’ point is that the older son is lost too. This Sunday we want to concentrate on the Elder Brother and learn from the text: 1) a startling new understanding of lostness, 2) what the signs of it are (so we can recognize it in ourselves), and 3) what we can do about this condition.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *