The story of the prodigal son is actually the story of two wayward brothers and their loving father. It’s a universal story that represents every member of the human race.
I can’t fully identify with the prodigal. “Riotous living” is foreign to me. But the older brother’s self-righteous attitude – now that resonates with my spiritual struggle. His sin was perhaps more serious than an out-in-the-open immoral lifestyle. That’s because it was hidden – but easy to recognize when it surfaced.
Here are its characteristics: He chose anger instead of acceptance (Luke 15:28). He separated himself and “would not go in” (v. 28). He said to his father, “this son of yours” (v. 30), instead of calling him “my brother.” Clearly, he hadn’t experienced the wonder of grace.
Yet the father loved both sons unconditionally. With the prodigal, he ran out to welcome him. And with this older son, he “came out and pleaded with him” (v. 28). There was no harsh scolding, just joy for the younger son and a longing heart for his older son. What a wonderful picture of how graciously God pursues us!
Which son represents you? Have you responded to your heavenly Father’s immeasurable love? – Dennis De Haan
Naught have I gotten but what I received,
Grace hath bestowed it since I have believed;
Boasting excluded, pride I abase –
I’m only a sinner saved by grace! – Gray
God’s love changes prodigal sons into precious saints.
- November 22, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread