Have you read the story of the Lost Son? (Luke 15: 11-32)
My husband and I have many times, you know the one thing we took away (at one point in time) from the story? How unfair it was for the older Son. We are both first born’s, who not only enjoy helping out I think I can say with honesty feel like in some situations we have to or it’s our duty to help out. To follow the rules, to do what is right etc. With that usually comes an attitude of trying hard not the be selfish, or seem or have selfish thoughts.
This seems to come a little more easily to younger or the youngest children. Don’t misread me I am not implying that the youngest is selfish, they just seem to have this freedom to express their wants and needs that comes more naturally to them than it seems to come to first born’s in my opinion/observation. And I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. In the story of the Lost Son/Prodigal Son we see a young man who is thinking of the now, he wants his inheritance now so he can strike out on his own and enjoy it while he’s young. In the story this decision does not end well for the younger son who loses everything he has and is forced to accept a job feeding pigs and eating the same food they do. He eventually comes to his senses and decides to repent from his sin of demanding his inheritance from his father and ask him to give him work.
But what happens next I don’t think anyone expects the first time they hear this story is the Father rushing out of his house to welcome his son home, and then selects the most choice meat to serve at a banquet in his honor when he returns.
24 “for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.”
My husband and I actually had a great discussion about the reaction of the other brother 29 “but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me one young goat for a feast with my friends.” We felt his reaction was completely justified, why do the younger kids always get the best stuff? 🙂
Until we realized and finally understood the parable. The Other Brother was acting like the Pharisees. They despised the sinners, the gentiles, they thought themselves better than them since they were “closer to God”. Why should the supposed Messiah come to save such sinners? The Gentiles?? No way! They thought they should be the ones to be saved, they should have the seat next to God’s but God knew their hearts, they didn’t love him, they loved the attention, the feasts, the praises.
The truth is we are and can be both brothers. We are all the Younger son; that is a fact of the parable. We have all gone our own way from the father through sin, but when we come home “…there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” All of Heaven throws a huge party for all of us when we return back to our Heavenly Father.
The trouble comes when we decide to pass judgement on anyone else who also decides to return home to the Father, that’s when we become the other brother. Sin is sin. No one sin is greater or lesser in God’s eyes, stealing a candy bar is the same as murdering someone to God. Telling a lie is the same as committing adultery, or coveting what your neighbor has.
It is all equal and that is why it can all be paid with one price.