Summary: Relationship, the law, bitterness
THE MISSING CLIMAX
Luke 15: 25-32 (p 740) Aug. 7, 2011
I bought a murder mystery book last year to take with me on a trip...It was a Sue Grafton book called "P" is for Peril. I bought it used at a bookstore...I like Sue Grafton..She's written these mysteries from every letter of the alphabet....A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, and so on....I started reading the book on the airplane...really got into it...and was finishing it up that night at the hotel room when I discovered the last 13 pages had been removed. To say I was irritated would be an understatement. and No you cannot find a 3 year old Sue Grafton book in New Orleans at 10:35 at night.
The parable of the prodigal is unfinished...Jesus has torn out the last 13 pages of the book...Jesus leaves the account in Mid Air. The ending is missing. And clearly it's done on purpose.
Jesus is telling this story (as well as the previous 2 about a lost sheep and a lost coin) to, a specific audience...the Seriles and Pharisees....Its a group of religious sinners who stand in opposition to his message. His message is "Rejoice with me" ...when something that is lost is found there is joy. There is a celebration...especially if its a son...
Instead of joy...the Pharisees were complaining, and grumbling that "Jesus welcomed sinners and ate with them."
The reason the story remains unfinished is that there is still a chance for "the older brother ..."the Pharisees" there is still an opportunity for them to re reconciled to the Father.
"meanwhile, the older son was in the field when he came near the house, he hears Music and dancing." ( v 25)
One of the saddest truths of this story is that for some grace isn't amazing.
I GRACE IS INFURIATING
The Greek word used for "older" in our text is (presbyters) it's the same word used for "Elder" It's a title applied to the Pharisees and teachers of Israel as well as a title applied to leaders of the church.
There is no mistaking who this "older Son" represents int he parable.
As he approaches the house he hears the sound of a celebration...."Music" Symphonies" a band...stringed instruments, drums, and "Dancing" "Choron"...a circular stick dance of mil-able eastern peasants...It's simple and powerful...it's something all the village joins in...it's the same word used in Ps 150:4 where it says "Praise Him with Tambourine".
As the older son approaches the guests have arrived. A large crowd is milling about...there's laughter, clapping...the windows are open and a great time is being had by all. Every few minutes one of the women releases a shrill "joy Cry"...A group of young boys is milling around the outskirts of the courtyard...they are not old enough to join the banquet but can enjoy the celeb ration from outside the house.
As the older son approaches and hears the music the natural reaction would be an anticipation of fun...a celebration with the leading men of the village...but instead he stands aloof.
"So he calls one of the servants and asks him "what's going on" (v26)
The word for servant is (Pais) it means "young boy" ....It seems that the older brother grabs one of these young men on the outskirts of the party and says "whats the deal?"
And the young boy says "your brother has come and your father has killed the "fattened calf" because he has him back safe and sound."
The conversation is extremely important...because its here that the older brother, not only finds out his brother has arrived...but the young boy uses the word "Hygaino" for has him back.
It means "shalom" your father has received your brother back and they are at peace...they have reconciled.
The older brother has no chance to influence the fathers reaction to his brother's return...it's done...they are at peace.
This explains his explosive wrath.
"The older brother became angry and refused to go in...so his father went out and pleaded with him". (v28)
[What!!!!That son of Pigs has been reinstated without having to pay back what he lost...that's my inheritance he's eating...those are my resources he's celebrating with.]
*Reconciliation and restoration without a penalty being paid is too much for him to understand or accept...for certain types of people, grace is not only amazing...It's infuriating."
Everything left in the house is legally the property of the older Son...although, the farther still maintains authority, the remaining wealth has been pledged to the older son..."Everything I have is yours"
Giving a sumptuous banquet is completely within the father's rights, but it cuts into the oldest son's inheritance..He can say nothing, but he is not pleased that the expenses will be taken from his profits.
The oldest son's response is crucially significant. He refuses to enter the banquet hall where the guests have already arrived...He is supposed to help serve as host and welcoming committee, He is suppose to stand next to the father...but he will have none of it.