Bible Society of South Africa

A tale of two sons – 28 March 2022

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

31‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ ”

Luke 15:31-32GNBOpen in Bible reader

The parable of the son who squanders his family’s inheritance and goes bankrupt only to return home to the welcoming arms of his father is a story about two brothers. In the second part of the story, we meet the elder son and discover he is just as self-centred as his younger brother.

The younger son’s main concern is to rid himself of the restrictions of home and family life and be free to live the high life in the wider world. The older son grumbles about the sacrifices he has made and the luxuries he has missed while working hard and taking on the responsibilities expected of him. When his younger brother returns and his father is delighted, he cannot acknowledge his father’s joy; it makes no sense to him. In the end, the older brother excludes himself from fellowship with his father just as the younger son did earlier.

We can understand the older brother’s position. It seems perfectly reasonable to want to see evidence of a changed life before celebrating his brother’s return.

Longtime Christians often place similar demands on others to shape up and get it together when really it is time to celebrate. The Father has welcomed home the forgiven sinner, and we must be ready to join the party.

Prayer: Lord, we often act like the older brother. By your grace remove the blindfolds from our eyes so that we can see others as you see them. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.12
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