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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


21. Parables About the Love of God Which Seeks our Sinners (Luke 15:1-32)

LUKE 15:25-32
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ 28 But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 
31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

As a coin has two faces, so the story of the lost son has two sides: the older son remained with his father faithful, hardworking, submissive, and godly. He worked in the field by the sweat of his brow, and did not surrender to ease and laziness at home. In the example of the elder son, Christ refers to the Jews of the Old Testament, who kept the law diligently, and served God with zeal, determination and godliness, that they might gain paradise. But Christ saved adulterers and sinners, who gained salvation without good deeds, then the Pharisees complained greatly.

As the elder son came back in the evening, tired from his work in the field, he suddenly heard noise, music, and dancing, and was astonished, for no party or wedding was expected in the house. But then he heard that these things happened because his young brother had returned, and his father received him back gladly and joyfully, and invited all in the house to rejoice. The older son showed his displeasure, flamed up with rage, and demanded in his heart that the prodigal be condemned, for he had disgraced the family’s reputation. He was bitter over receiving back his brother in that manner without punishment. He regarded it as an injustice. He probably thought in his heart: “How I wish I could bring that thief into my field to teach him toil and labor that he may forget his lusts and ease.” The older son hated the merciful father and all those who participated in the joyful scene. So he disobediently did not enter the house, and separated himself from his Lord.

Then the strange thing that happened is the second miracle of the golden chapter. The father remained merciful to the hard older son, and did not refuse him. He went to his obstinate son who kept away from him, and spoke to him with kindness, tried to win his heart and fill it with love toward his returning brother.

But the angry son complained sharply against his father. He did not call him “father” any further, but began his speech with “I”, claiming his rights, showing his empty ego, and worthiness, seeing nothing but his illusory uprightness, and making himself an example for everyone. He did not observe that his returning brother who was lost became righteous, whereas he the faithful and godly turned, through his disobedience, into an ungrateful, lost one. Then the angry son did not call the prodigal brother “brother”, but threw the contemptuous phrase “this son of yours” in his father’s face, “I have nothing to do with this adulterer and criminal, for I am clean, and he is adulterous. You have polluted our house by receiving back this criminal. You have killed the most valuable calf in our field for this beggar. I the hard-working son have enjoyed no celebration, living cheerlessly, and now you become merry and rejoice.

The heart of the father was probably troubled by these harsh words which struck his his joyful heart as if with a hammer. But in his holy patience, the wise father wished also to help his older son, and endeavored to gain his love. He did not call him mutinous, obstinate, or rebellious, but called him, “son”, which is the kindest word a father says to his child. He wanted to break his hatred with this kind word. Furthermore, he proved that he did not speak only out of passion, but with truth, saying, “You are always with me.” There is no greater than this word, which God says to man. Immediately the father added, “All that I have is yours.” Arise O heart! Worship O soul! God does not say to you who are disobedient, “Depart from me, you cursed.” But he provides you with all his riches, rights, power, and future plans. That is all yours. All that is God’s is yours and more. This statement from the mouth of God means: I am yours for love’s sake. I am to you as a father is to his child.

Dear brother, if you did not recognize yet who God is in the New Testament, read the whole story (from v. 11 to v. 31) once again, and pray that you may know that God does not only show himself to the righteous, but also gives himself to the lost, the sinful, the hardhearted teachers to the same extent, for God is love, and his rich mercy is endless.

The father continued his speech to his angry son: “Whether you understand or not, we must celebrate the return of your brother. Today this means to you that every man is your brother. He must turn to God, and you must share the gospel of salvation with others. Every sinner who repents is like a dead man who rises from the dead, and every sinner who becomes renewed by the word of the Holy Spirit is more important than the angels, for God has found a child in him. Today, waves of joy and gladness are spread all around the world, for many people are repenting and being born again. Do you enjoy this with us, or complain of your problems?

PRAYER: Praise, thanks and worship be to you, heavenly Father, for your love, patience and kindness. For you do not immediately break the disobedient, or reject them, but seek them, speak to them, and present yourself to them. Forgive us our hard-heartedness, and fill us with your love that we may rejoice at every one who is renewed, and preach your fatherly love at all times.

QUESTION 102: How did the loving patience of the father appear toward his proud older son?


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