2019-08-02 - The Man with Two Sons ~ Part 3
Part 3 ~ The Personal Meaning
Originally published on 10-28-2011
You might be the older son if you see rottenness, or wrong, in others and point it out, or even make it up like the brother did in verse 30. The brother claimed, "He's been out wasting your money with prostitutes."
The boy was in a distant land - how on earth did the older brother know what was going on? He didn't check out Facebook updates from his little brother. The townspeople could have stayed out with the older brother, talking about the wrong he had done, but they chose to come in and "judge not". There's a party going on, if we just "judge not," but some think the party is the lynch mob's shouting on the outside instead of the joyous commotion inside. This tendency creeps in for many of us as "prayer requests," but it is still just us sitting outside pouting instead of going in where the action is really at.
A youth I used to work with once invited a gay student who proudly wore a shirt announcing his lifestyle. Sadly, some of our youth insulted him and made him feel anything but welcome in our father's house. We were called to catch fish, not clean them.
Lastly, you might be the older son if you don't see your relationship to God and others. Look at the relationship gaps going on here in verses 29 and 30. First, look at the relationship with the father. The oldest never calls him dad. The only relationship term he uses is “slave.” Also, he doesn't go to his dad in the house to see what's going on; he goes to a servant outside. We don't have to go to a servant; we have direct access to the Father. Next, look at the relationship with the brother. He's not my little brother, but your son. When Jordan makes all As, he's my boy - but when he runs around waving his arms and screaming like a maniac, I tell Dana, "That's your boy!" We distance ourselves from people that are not like what we want to be. There's an old saying that goes "when momma's not happy, no one's happy" but the truth should go both ways. When Dana is happy, I should be happy for her.
There were two sons, showing two ways to be lost. One sinned away from home; the other sinned at home. One was lost in miles, the other in coldness. One sinned outwardly; the other sinned inwardly. One sinned and felt unworthy; the other slaved and felt worthy.
Look at the father's reply.
"Son." Despite the insults of family and not being respectful to Him, he still calls him son. This isn't usual Greek word but a term of endearment for "little child." It reminds me of when Jesus called the father Abba daddy, not the father. "You're always with me." All these years what I have offered you is myself. I've always been right here for you my boy. If having all of me is not enough, then having a goat and a party with friends won't be enough either. I value our relationship, not your work. I'm always here with you. "All I have is yours." Nothing will be taken from you because he has come home. Jordan thought we'd love him less when Justin came along, but love never has to be split up. I can give him all my love, and still have it all to give to Justin. If you wanted a goat BBQ, why didn't you say so? The goat has always been yours. It would thrill me to throw you a party, but you never bothered asking. "You have not because you ask not.”
"It was right that we should should make merry and be glad." It's not your brother's party. It's ours. We are the ones celebrating because he has come back. He is the reason, but the party is ours. Think about all three parables, and we see the celebration of God, not the sinner. The Shepherd (Jesus) celebrates finding the lost sheep. The searching woman (Holy Spirit) celebrates finding the coin. And the Father celebrates the return of his lost son.
"Your brother." He is your brother, not just my son. You are still family. You are in the same boat as him, as my children.
"I lost him, and now he's come back." Do I have to lose you now? Notice the open-ended story. We don't know what the older son does. Jesus leaves it up to us to decide his fate, because we are that older brother. It can end in one of two ways.
You can turn away and stay outside. You can play church and grow bitter and cold inside. You can hate your brother and eventually hate your father. You can choose this path and die outside, alone and unnoticed.
Or you can repent of your attitude problems. Ask forgiveness, and go inside with the father and brother. If you go inside, you'll see the sorrow of your little brother, and you'll throw your arms around him and celebrate his return with the same love the father has.
How will your story end?
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted
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