We all know the parable of the prodigal son. After reading it we all have felt sorry for the elder who had been dutiful and loyal to the father. But on second reading some things struck me and I could see things between the lines. Everyone sees the elder son as the ideal son. But for me he is far from ideal. Here’s why:
He was at the field (Luke 15:25) At the time of celebration of return of the prodigal son, the elder son was in the field, away from the father. He was so distanced that the father could not tell of the return and celebration for the younger son. He was unaware of it. (2 Timothy 3:5) 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
He shut himself out (Luke 15: 28) The elder son did not enter the house and kept himself out. When he did not receive what he desired and wanted, the elder son kept away. Here we see the glimpse of jealousy and greed. He too had desires like the younger son which he keeps hidden. They are not hidden though when he expresses displeasure on the celebration for the return of his younger brother.
The father gave a banquet for the return of the prodigal son. Among the Jews it was considered disrespectful to get up in between a banquet. But here we see the father get up to call his elder son. Our Father in heaven too does for us, but how do we react. The elder son refuses to be part of the celebration despite the father pleading with him. We too at times do not pay heed to the voice of our Father in our ego.
The elder son is being self righteous (Luke 15: 29-30) . The elder son says to his father that I have served you as a servant. You never considered me. He tries to highlight his position saying he has been obedient always (Jeremiah 2: 35, you say, ‘I am innocent;he is not angry with me. But I will pass judgment on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
The hidden side of the elder son is revealed in Luke 15: 30. No where has it been mentioned that the younger son spent money on prostitutes, It is only said that he squandered the wealth on wild living, which could be drugs, drinks, gambling and not necessarily women. But the elder son accuses his own brother of the same. How did he know what his brother did? So somewhere deep inside him also there is dark territory which he does not show.
In Luke 15: 31-32, we can see that the elder brother is spiritually blind. You may ask how?? The younger son who was spiritually blind earlier went on the wrong path, suffered and repented. He sought forgiveness and mended his ways before the father. Instead of rejoicing in the return, the elder son seems to be burning in the fire of jealousy, greed and avarice. His soul becomes dead and he becomes spiritually blind when he fails to see and understand the father’s love. The father does not discriminate between his children. 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” But he fails to see this and hence falls into the hands of devil.
Brothers and sisters, pause to think. Where do we stand today? Are we self righteous in our egos? Does greed and jealousy blind our love towards our family?? Do we prioritize self before others? Are we like the elder son wearing a facade of righteousness while sinking deep into sin?? Or are we like younger son,who realizes hos folly and without shame admits his transgressions and seeks forgiveness?? Think today.