“It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:32)
Remember the parable we read for the first day of this devotional series, about the father and his lost son? Let’s read this parable again, but this time focus on the attitude of a third person involved.
When the father had welcomed his lost son in and organized a party, the older brother noticed what was going on. He did not join the party, however, but “became angry and refused to go in”. He despised his brother deeply and denounced the father’s unconditional love for this boy. To his opinion, such a sinner was not worthy of a warm welcome — especially since the older son himself had always served his father blamelessly!
We already concluded that the father in this parable is God Himself. The lost son is a sinner who repents and comes back to his heavenly Father. So, who is this older brother? It is a fellow human who begrudges the repentant sinner the Father’s grace — and by doing so, excludes himself from the party.
In Jesus’ day, it was the religious elite who played the role of the grudgeful brother. Are any such feelings in your heart as well? Are there people you deem unworthy of God’s forgiveness?