The Other Son
“But he was angry and would not go in.”
Luke 15:28 (NKJV)
The parable of the ‘Prodigal Son’ (Luke 15:11-32 NKJV), is the longest story ever told by Jesus and has lessons for two groups of people: the youngest son represents those who run from God and reject his love; and the elder son mirrors those who stay with him and spend their time working to earn his love. Obviously, both of these boys needed their father’s tender, unconditional love; but unfortunately we mostly focus on the younger prodigal and kind of read over the lesson of the elder.
The prodigal comes home in repentance and is hugged and forgiven by his father. He is clothed in a special robe, has sandals placed on his feet, receives the family signet ring on his finger and is sitting at the father’s table sinking his teeth into great chunks of meat. Just an hour or so earlier he came to realise that he is loved—but he always was!
The elder boy has spent all his life trying to impress his father, slaving away for long hours and hoping to gain some kind of recognition; not realising the he too is loved dearly by his dad. Because of this, the relationship he had was a slave/master relationship and not the loving father/son connection he craved. After a long day toiling in his father’s fields the eldest son comes home and discovers that his long lost brother has returned, is being honoured, and that his dad has even killed the fatted calf for him. So, as his brother sits at the father’s table enjoying his new found relationship with his dad, he stands outside the family home weighing his options. He is very angry because this wastrel, who had gone off and spent his inheritance foolishly, is now the honoured guest; while he did all the work and slaved for his parent. He doesn’t even claim him as a brother, but calls him “This son of yours!” (Verse 30)
This story ends abruptly and we don’t know if the older son comes to realise just how much he is loved or if he goes in to join the party and celebrate his brother’s return. Will he continue to stay angry with his dad and brother, remaining outside and alone? Everything about his life, and ours, hinges on the answer to two simple questions: Do we know how loved we really are? And isn’t it about time we found out?
Our tender Father, thank you for your amazing love that will never grow cold, or fail us—a precious love that will never allow us to be separated from you by anything or any one in this universe.
Study by Cliff Neill
This is the 9th day of S.E.P., a two-week summer activity camp that takes place on the bank of Loch Lomond, Scotland. It is sponsored and run by the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International. The camp is Christian in ethos but accepts campers from all denominations and faiths, or from none. For more information about S.E.P. visit http://www.sepuk.org
About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
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