Blog: Max Dawson
January 12, 2017
In my current Bible class at Dowlen Road church we are reading the book of Luke. We read a new chapter each time we meet. The class is really going great. Dustin Baker helps me with the class.
We recently read –the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the two lost boys. That last example is better known as the parable of The Prodigal Son.
Most of the time when that last parable is taught, the emphasis is on the boy who left home. He wasted his inheritance, had a turn at feeding pigs, and was pretty much left hungry, homeless and friendless. When he came to his senses he decided to go home in humble repentance and appeal to his father for mercy. He would be happy now just to be a servant in his father’s household.
The point is made that the father in the parable represents God and that He is willing to forgive those who have gone astray. He welcomes them when they come home. That is a valid point, but it is not the main lesson taught in the parable.
Note that in the second paragraph above I called it the story of “the two lost boys.” The parable is more about the second boy who was lost. The older brother who had never left home was unforgiving, pouting and resentful with respect to his brother who had come home. Instead of being filled with joy, he was filled with bitterness.
All three parables are about joy. The shepherd rejoiced when he found the lost sheep. The woman was happy when she found the coin. The father rejoiced when his wayward son came home. The older brother did not!
Why did Jesus teach these parables? He did not teach in a vacuum. His teaching was in response to the Pharisees and scribes who complained that Jesus was spending time with sinners as he taught them the gospel (). The Jewish leaders were not happy about what was happening. Jesus taught these parables, pointing out that there is joy in heaven when sinners repent. Why was there no joy on earth–in the hearts of these men? These men are represented by the older brother in the parable. Like the older brother, they were resentful and did not rejoice.
But, there is more that I want you to think about. Read on.


Why did Jesus bring this teaching to a close so abruptly? Why didn’t He finish the story? We want to know how the older brother reacted to his father’s words of wisdom. Read it for yourself–the whole parable–but particularly the last eight verses (25-32). The story just stops! What happened next?
Did the older brother repent? Did he change his attitude? Did he go in and join the party and rejoice with the others? We would like to think he did. But, Jesus did not finish the story. And why not?
Perhaps it was to let the Pharisees and scribes finish the story for themselves. It would be natural for them to wonder how the older boy reacted. But, then the real question would not be about that boy, but about themselves. Would their hearts be changed by Jesus? Would they repent of their bitter attitude toward Jesus and His teaching of sinners. Would they begin to find joy when sinners repented?
Good questions for them. Good questions for us.
Blessings to you, my joyous brethren,

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