The Journey with Ron Moore

Rescue: The Older Brother

Luke 15:25-30

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. “Your brother has come,” he replied, “and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.” 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!”

The parable of the prodigal son tells the story of a lost son and a loving father. We’ve considered the prodigal and the father. Today let’s focus on the older brother.  

You know the story. The younger brother demanded his inheritance, squandered it on wild living, and returned home. The loving father embraced his wayward son, forgave him, restored him into the family, and then threw a celebration party. There is one more character in Jesus’ story — the older brother.

The older brother was ticked . . . to put it mildly. When he came in from working the fields and heard about the prodigal’s party, he was so angry he refused to go inside. He had been working in the field while partiers were dancing to the music. He was working the cattle while the fattened calf was on the rotisserie.  How in heaven’s name could his father forgive, restore, and plan a bash after all the younger brother had done?!

There’s a little “older brother” in all of us, isn’t there? We love forgiveness until God restores someone we don’t think deserves pardon. We love compassion until it is poured on a person who didn’t make our list. But here’s the deal . . . no one deserves God’s forgiveness or compassion . . . especially you and me! God’s grace is a free gift to the undeserving, so when you get an invitation to a “Welcome Home” party, always check the box “Yes, I will attend.” When we celebrate the forgiveness of another person we are truly celebrating God’s grace in our own lives.

Father, please forgive me for the “older brother” sin. May I always celebrate Your forgiveness in the lives of others just as I celebrate it in my own life.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Suffering from the “older brother’s sin?” Let us pray for you.



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