A Father Celebrates and a Brother Grumbles

This post is a continuation of the parable of the lost son, the first part of the parable can be found here.

Today we will dig deeper into the father’s and brother’s response to the return of the prodigal son.

The Heart of the father (Luke 15: 20-24)

Verse 20 says “while the son was a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

1. The father sees him from a distance – indicating that he watched and waited for his return and never lost hope.

2. The intensity of the father’s reaction is seen with the fact that he ran to the son. He did not stand aloof waiting for the son to beg for forgiveness but the father loved him so much and was eager to show him that love and acceptance and restore the relationship.


3. He does not chide him but throws his arms around him and kisses him. Unconditional love and forgiveness are what we see here. Neither did he minimise his son’s mistakes but just forgave and embraced him.

God, our heavenly father bestows on us HIS love the same way. He patiently waits for us, readily forgives us and eagerly embraces us.He is a God of Compassion, love, mercy and forgiveness.

And HE is a God of second chances.

The father’s reaction was not based on the son’s past mistakes.
There was repentance and a choice to be with the father from the son’s side and only love and acceptance from the Father.

The father did more than what the son expected, he restores the son to the full privilege of being his son, “puts the best robe, a ring, sandals and they celebrate with a fattened calf.” That is the heart of God. The father’s acceptance of the repentant son is total. That is God’s grace – complete restoration.

Maybe you feel far away from God (like the son felt) but like the father saw the son from a distance, God sees us where we are at and loves us where we are at.

But His love for us is so much that HE does not want us to stay where we are at, HE wants us to move closer to HIM.

Are you moving closer to Jesus?

The story goes on and we get a glimpse into the reaction of the older brother.

The Brother Grumbles (Luke 15:25-32).
The brother stayed, brought no disgrace, worked hard for the father and kept all the rules. He was not too pleased when he saw the celebration underway for his younger brother, he was angry and jealous.
He thought all what he did makes him a better or favoured son, he thought he deserved the celebration instead of his brother.

The older son lived in the father’s house but forgot the father’s heart. There is a sense of obedience and doing it all right from him but he was truly far from the father’s heart. He says to his father in verse 30, “This son of yours”. He does not even acknowledge the younger brother as his brother as he says this. 1 John 2:9 says “anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”

Here is where we can read ourselves into the story, as believers in Jesus, we live in our father’s house but we cannot forget what it is all about – a heart for the lost. The house of God is for everyone, all are welcome. God longs for everyone to turn to HIM. Just because we believe, it no way makes us better than anyone else, because we are all sinners and all of us need Jesus.

If you have walked with the Lord for a while, take time to reflect on whether you have become stagnant and are not moving any closer to Jesus. And are you still in tune with the father’s heart?

In verse 29, the Older son says to the father, “all these years I have been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.” It is sad to hear him saying that all the time he worked for the father felt like slaving. May we remember to check our hearts and our reasons for what we do for the Lord because it should bring us Joy; it may not be easy but neither should it feel like a burden.

We see in verse 31, the father saying to the older son; “My son, you are always with me and everything I have is yours.”
We see the Father’s heart again and the love he has for both his sons. He goes out to plead with the son. That is how our heavenly Father loves us.

The picture of the way the father forgives and responds to the prodigal son’s return is the way we should react and rejoice over someone choosing Jesus. Our biggest role as a church is to remove any barrier and not create them, make each and every kind of person feel welcome. They should not have to fit a certain look or certain type of dressing or behaviour to feel welcome.

As I dug into this parable, I felt compelled to question myself on certain things:
1. Do I make it easier or harder for others to connect to God?
2. What do I add to the church experience?
3. If I come across a prodigal son, how will I respond?
4. I have been walking with the Lord for quite a while now, have I become stagnant or am I moving closer to Jesus?
5. And is my heart truly close to God, does it ache for things that matter to God?


I hope not to reflect the behaviour of the pharisees and think I am on higher ground than anyone else. I strive to have a heart after my heavenly father, continue to grow closer to Him and respond like Him.

I hope you take the time to ponder on these questions.

God Bless.

22 Replies to “A Father Celebrates and a Brother Grumbles”

  1. This post is so meaningful. We as Christians must make sure we are showing love to all people. God is no respecter of persons. He loves everyone equally. This story is a reminder of the importance of forgiveness. God has forgiven us so many times, and we should do the same for others. ❀️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have wondered two things about the older brother (If this is a true story, which it could have been)…
    Did he think that now that his brother had returned penniless that he was going to have to split HIS share of the inheritance? Verse 31 would say, “No.” The younger son spent all his. This says to me that although we can be forgiven, we will still have consequences for our poor choices. Some physical, social, or financial damages will not be undone in this life. (So, the reasoning, “It’s OK, God will forgive me later” is NOT an excuse to sin if we know better!)
    The other thing I sometimes think about when I read that the older brother was still out working in the field and hadn’t been told the news or invited to the party: I do think someone should have included him in the festivities… “Just sayin…” πŸ˜‰
    I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes, and had it been my sister who took off, (I was always the Good-Two-Shoes in the family.) I would have been praying for her safe return and would have been hurt if no one told me the my prayers had been answered and she was back, and everyone was celebrating without me. I’m thinking this probably wasn’t the reason this older brother was annoyed…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou for bringing these points up. I do believe that our Father forgives us but yes we have to live through the consequences of our choices and decisions. And yes our God forgives us but like the prodigal son shows true repentance, genuine repentance results in a change of heart and change of attitude. Paul said Gods grace abounds but does it mean we keep on sinning-no of course not.
      With regards to the older brother, yes if I was in his shoes I would like to have been called to join. But when he did get informed he was not upset about being called late to join the party but annoyed at the father for celebrating the return of the younger brother. So that does give us a glimpse into his feelings.
      Thankyou for stopping by and commenting 😊❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. #s 17, 18 and 22 are great food for thought as we progress in our walk with Christ. It’s so easy to turn our nose up and be unsupportive of the prodigals who come home with a zeal to work and honor their Father because they have been forgiven much. It’s so easy to say to them, β€œyou really don’t know how hard this walk is” and to dim their blazing candles because we have gotten stuffy and comfortable in our seat. May we never be as grumpy as the older brother, despite any valid reason he may or may not have. May we be like the Father, eager to welcome all our relatives home. πŸ€—

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Also was wondering what 17, 18 and 22 were as I did not have those many pints so went back and checked and saw that when I see my post it shows up like how I originally wrote it so am not sure what is happening here. I must admit I am not the best at tech.

      Like

  4. Great post on the prodigal son parable! I especially like how you mention that God is a God of second chances, which I think every one of us can use at some point in our lives. There are times where we can be more like the prodigal son where we feel like we need a second chance at something, and there are times where we can be more like the jealous son by not appreciating what God provides by being loyal to him all along. I write about his parable from the perspective of positive psychology, which asks what it means to live a meaningful and fulfilling life from a scientific point of view. I hope you get a chance to check it out sometime and I welcome any contributions you may have to the content. Great post, I hope you are doing well, and God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

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