Read: Luke 15: 25-28
“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in.
We’ve all seen the happy ending of a movie or television show where the conflict has been resolved and everyone is expecting the happy ending only to see the plot twist no one expected.
Imagine hearing the story of the younger son for the first time. The father and his servants and his son are all celebrating the return of the son who was as good as dead. That’s it. Fade to black. Roll the credits.
But, Jesus adds the unexpected. The older son was missing since the beginning of the story, but he arrived just in time to demonstrate his disapproval by refusing to join in the celebration
“He answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead and is alive; he was lost,
and is found” (Luke 15:29-32).
In just a few short sentences, Jesus brings his listeners from happiness to a unique twist of the story and then a cliffhanger as He leaves us wondering – Did the elder son go in and join the celebration or did he choose to sit on the outside?
So, Jesus confronts both the younger and elder sons among us. The “younger sons” recognize their lostness more readily, when we come to our senses, right? So, in his book dedicated to this story, Tim Keller reminds us that “Jesus is pleading not so much with immoral outsiders as with moral insiders. He wants to show them their blindness, narrowness, self-righteousness, and how these things are destroying both their own souls and the lives of the people around them.”
As I asked last week, \which son do you identify with more closely?