UV 2920/10000 The Two Kinds of People
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
Luke 15 v 28
The story of the prodigal narrated by Jesus is about two kinds of people in this world. The Father's home in the story is a metaphor for earth as well as the kingdom of God. The younger brother is the one who repents, who is broken, who wants to be reconciled with the Father while the elder brother is the one who feels entitled, who feels no need to repent and change. The latter feels entitled to all the blessings that the Father gives. He justifies himself by virtue of his sense of responsibility, his loyalty, his piety, his morality. He considers himself an equal of the Father. The younger brother stands for all who having recognized the misery of following their own wills and the misery it brings return to the Father through confessing their sin and accepting Jesus as payment for justification and Lord for sanctification, anointing and enablement. The elder brother stands for the rest of the world who trust in their own abilities, their religion, their good character and their good deeds. The latter gloss over their failings and turn a blind eye to their own faults and failures. The latter are egoistic, legalistic, judgemental, unforgiving, bitter and invariably have double standards.
The younger brother stands for all those who rely on God’s grace or divine enablement. He is the one who now accepts every word spoken by the Father as valuable as a pearl. He finally finds what is true freedom. The Father receives Him back to His home with open arms and a heart full of love. He restores the younger son as a prince in his home. He restores his authority in the kingdom of God. He restores his dignity. He has him cleaned and anointed. He celebrates the moment of the return of the younger son. The younger son no longer thinks he owns anything in the Father’s home but he knows the Father will more than meet his need, judging by the way he has been welcomed back. The younger son realizes that his old self willed personality is dead, that he has to live a new life in the kingdom of the Father.
The elder son represents people who think God is obligated to bless them since He has created them. They think God is obligated to provide and promote and protect them since they are serving Him morally and faithfully wherever they are placed. They are the ones who question God when good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. They feel they have the right to question the mercy, grace and justice of the Lord. The moral of the story is that it is better to have wandered away from the Father and to return to Him broken, humble, empty, repentant and grateful than to stay self righteous, entitled, religious, judgemental, legalistic, egoistic, proud and full of oneself. The latter did not realize that everything that belongs to the Father belongs to them. The younger brother started badly but ended well while the elder brother started well but finished badly. The former had a negative attitude at the beginning while the elder brother had a negative attitude at the end. The younger brother felt he was the worst of sinners who deserved no mercy even from his Father while the elder brother felt superior and better when he compared himself with the younger brother. The latter thought that just doing his duty should have won him a preeminent place in the Father’s home and heart. He assumed that the Father did not know of all the indiscretions, follies and excesses he committed while claiming never to have left the Father’s home or violated His will. The elder brother’s hurt was caused by his own excessive pride and self righteousness. He had a “holier than anyone else “ approach. The elder brother lived as a stranger in his Father's home. He did not have a deep understanding of the Father's heart while the younger son knew that despite his rebellion, His bringing a bad name to the Father, the latter would receive him if not as a son at least as a servant. The elder did not know of the hidden pain in the Father's heart at the absence of the younger son in His home and therefore, could not feel the pleasure He felt on His return. The heart of the former pleases God while the heart of the latter displeases the Lord.
Prateep V Philip