father deals with his older son. When the prodigal returns and the father is
excited about his return and throws a party. The older brother comes in from
work and he is mad. Part of his anger seems justified to many of us and we may
see more of ourselves in him than we like to admit.
Our thoughts might be "that guy wasted all his money and now he is coming
back and this is all supposed to be mine one day when dad dies, but now that
loser is going to wind up getting more than his share." Another thought, "I am
out here working and sweating and they are in there having a party." The older
son expressed a little bit of these two ideas to the father, but not until the
father came to him. The older son wouldn’t go in and join the celebration. Maybe
he was glad his brother was gone and not happy to see him come back, I don’t
know, but for whatever reason he stayed outside pouting.
What does the father do? Just let him pout? Figure he’ll get over it? Make
him come in to the party? No, the father goes out to the son and talks to him
about the attitude problem he has in a very nonthreatening way. Notice verse 28
the father "entreated". Notice the difference in the pronouns the father and
older brother use. The father emphasizes the brotherly relationship, while the
older brother tries to reject his responsibility in his relationship to the
brother. The father also reminds the son of the blessings that he has not taken
advantage of because he never asked.
Of course Jesus is teaching the Jews about their relationship with God and
their sinful fellow man. The same principles apply to a father and his children
and there is more that we could learn than what we have. When you have a problem
with your children don’t wait for them to become mature enough to come to you,
go to them first. Remember we are the adults. We can’t expect them to act more
mature than we do.