Most pastors only speak of the Prodigal Son. And true, thatâ€™s the most touching and exciting part. But thereâ€™s another half story AFTER the story of the prodigal son. Thatâ€™s the story of his brother, the â€œrighteousâ€ son. But itâ€™s really only half a storyâ€¦
Luke 15:25-32 tells about what happened next. 25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast. We are celebrating because of his safe return.' 28 "The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, 'All these years I've worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the finest calf we have.'â€
Ok, heâ€™s got a point, right? He was really ticked off! Itâ€™s not fair! Iâ€™ve been good; Iâ€™ve kept the all the rules, I didnâ€™t party with prostitutes, never touched pork, never even ate meat, didnâ€™t smoke, was vegan, always went to temple on Sabbath, stayed away from pool halls â€¦ blah blah blah.
The righteous son represents those who trust in SELF-righteousness; legalists who unconsciously or consciously expect to be saved by God for their good works and obedience to the law.
Godâ€™s response to the son lost in self-righteousness? He went out to the son and begged him to join in his rejoicing for the return of his brother. Note how even the servents referred to the prodigal son as "your brother" but the prodigal son refers to him as "your son." He wants nothing to do with his brother.
Did you realize that this is the only story that is actually half a story? We never learn the end. The story simply ends with the father pleading with the son to come into the house and join the party.
So Christ finally comes full circle. Remember His audience; Pharisees and scribes. These were the guys that REALLY thought they could earn salvation with their works and they had the â€œsuperior danceâ€ down pat. With this half story, Jesus goes right to the heart of salvation: unmerited grace. Wow!
Next up â€“ the conclusion of the whole matter.