March 11, 2016: The Elder Brother
Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons” (v. 11).
One of the ways to read any story in the Bible is to ask two questions: What is God doing in the story? And, what should I be doing in light of this story? If we apply these two questions to the story of the prodigal son and his loving father, we get some remarkable results.
In this wonderful story, the living God is played by the father. The father of the prodigal son does not force his son to be obedient; he gives him his inheritance even though he knows it isn’t good for him. He also graciously receives back his penitent son and restores him to full status—over the objections of the ungracious brother! This is a portrait of our gracious God, and it ought to prompt us to return to him from whatever far country we may be in. The last word from our heavenly Father is not condemnation but forgiveness. Amazing grace!
And what should we be doing in light of this story? Certainly not pouting at grace given to others like the elder brother, but rather running long and hard into the outstretched arms of a loving and forgiving Father! When Christians rise to their feet in worship to say “I believe in the forgiveness of sins,” the story of the prodigal son and his gracious father is their justification for doing so.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.
Today’s devotional was written by Tim Brown, president and Henry Bast professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visitwww.woh.org.