Summary: This sermon looks at how the older brother was unable to grab hold of his Father’s love and how we, like him, need to find our way back into the Father’s house.
The Prodigal Brother
October 14, 2001
Last week we started our series on the Father Heart of God, focusing on what we’ve called Fatherless Living.
- And what we said was that each and every one of us has been created, at our very core, with a fundamental need for the Father’s love.
- Fatherless living is our attempt to live this life trying to satisfy that inner longing with something other than the kind of unconditional love our Heavenly Father longs to lavish on us.
Jesus painted an amazing picture of this when He told the story of the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32.
- The first part of the story deals with the younger son who left his Father’s house for a distant country where he squandered all his inheritance on prostitutes and booze.
- But, while broke and hungry, he “came to his senses”, as vs 17 says, and he realized that he had lived this life trying to satisfy his need for his Father’s love.
o That love was always there… but he simply wasn’t aware of the treasures he had in His Father’s house.
o With all the flood of emotions he was experiencing, he ultimately realized his homesickness for the Father’s love.
o And so, he began his journey back the Father’s House… back into the love, intimacy, and safety of the Father’s arms.
- Yet, the centerpiece of that story is the reunion of the Father with his son.
o If you remember, the son prepared a speech for that reunion, declaring that he was a sinner… not worthy to be his son.
o But before the son could get those words out of his mouth, the Father embraced him and couldn’t let go… and when he did, it was to prepare a party for his son who, as verse 32 says, was dead, but is now alive… who was lost, but now is found.
o And so, the prodigal son entered his Father’s house, having the very innermost part of his being filled once and for all with the love and peace that he had been searching for.
But this morning, I want to focus on the elder son. From the glance we receive of him in the beginning of the story, unlike the younger son, he appears to be responsible, faithful, and committed to his Father.
- but as the story unfolds, we see him to be as much of a prodigal as his younger
brother… just as empty and just as in need of the Father’s love.
- Let’s read this passage from Luke 15:25-31
"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27’Your brother has come,’ he replied, ’and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ’Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 "’My son,’ the father said, ’you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’"
Standing just outside the entrance of the party, was the older son.
- All he needed to do, was walk just a few feet through the door of his Father’s house,
and enjoy the feast the Father had prepared.
- Yet he chose to stand on the outside of all the love the Father had for him… angry
- You know, I’m sure many of us would act a lot like the elder brother… demanding
an explanation, expecting an apology, and wanting some kind of restitution for all
that was lost and squandered.
o In fact, I believe that if the Father had been hard on the younger son, making him a servant rather than restoring him to sonship… if the younger son was made to suffer a little bit… then the older brother would have been able to welcome him back
o But that’s not what happened. Instead, the father wouldn’t even listen to His younger son’s talk about becoming one of the servant… He could only do what He had always wanted to do… that is to lavish His on His children.
- And for this, the elder son became angry at His father.