The older brother of the prodigal son: the one who is not happy with the feast by which everyone is touched and moved

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The Gospel of Compelling Grace (6)

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Nuke 15:22-24)

Excitedly, the father tells his surprised servants.

“Guys! I have the best clothes. I have those shoes! Hurry up and put them on my son. Put a ring on him. Call everyone in town! Let’s have a great feast of joy!”

The father tells why the feast should be the most glamorous, exciting and thrilling one.

“This is my son who died and came to life, lost and found again. I thought it’s over, but he came back. So, catch the fattest calf and let’s have a feast of supreme joy!”

Everyone was happy. It was love of the father who embraced the most perfect betrayal with the most perfect love. How perfect his love is.

Jesus is telling the scribes and Pharisees that heaven is such a place. This is the good news, the Gospel, which lights the harsh and hopeless history of mankind. It is the grace of God freely bestowed upon those who do not deserve it. God raises up sinners who must be swept away and thrown into the fires of the eternal hell, as sons of glory. You know what the price is for the holy God to take a sinner as his son and put a signet ring on his finger. This heavenly feast is possible only when God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ, shed the blood of atonement on Calvary’s hill for us, sinners.

The feast for the returned son. That is the Gospel. It is the Gospel of the cross by which all servants and locals are moved or touched. It is the father’s boundless love, which moves everyone.

However, here comes the story of a man who is not happy. One person who cannot accept the feast but instead gets angry. He is the older brother of the prodigal son who prides himself on being sincere.

When the eldest son come close to the house from a field, he realizes that a great feast has been held. He asks a servant what the feast is. The servant rejoices and says that the younger brother had returned in good health and his father had slaughtered the fat calf and held the feast of joy. The older brother gets angry and does not go into the feast. The father comes out and persuades the oldest son, but he is still full of anger.

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 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. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” (Luke 15:28-30)

The older son is complaining

‘Who is the feast for? It is the feast of the absurd prodigal son.’

A feast of the world is for a person who deserves it. It means that a person who is competent, honorable, perfect, and has holy qualifications become a protagonist of a feast. Maybe the older son felt that his anger is not well justified with only one reason, and he says

“When did you hold a feast for me? A son like him who betrayed father needs a curse and judgment, not a feast. Have you ever throw a small feast for me? Have you ever slaughtered a little goat for me? Who am I?”

Missionary Young-Ui KIM

(Itinerant Missionary Representative of LOG Mission)

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