The Elder Brother
Luke 15:25-26 “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.”
Here is the elder brother of the Prodigal, doing what he always does….coming in from the field after seeing to the work there.
This he had done many times since his younger brother had left.
As the eldest son, he had been given the first two-thirds of the inheritance; while his younger brother had taken his one-third and left (to squander it).
But what he had not realized was, that when the Father divided his living among them (Luke 15:12)…it was a legal transaction that transferred all the substance, authority, and wealth to them.
So when the younger left with his….everything (2/3 of the estate), was now his, to do what he wanted with.
The elder son was lord of the manor…..his Father was nothing more than an honored guest in his house.
(Yes, he was to honor and to see to him as long as he lived….but the place, house, money, and servants, etc. was his….with all the legal standing of this position.
He could do what he wanted with all of it.)
Frankly, this was because he never really knew the Father, and his goodness.
He still saw things as they had always been….a son just doing his chores.
There was no enjoyment of his inheritance….no enjoyment or fellowship between him and his Father….just the duty, somehow to gain……something.
(that is the intangible “something”, because we should not do our duty for gain; but for love’s sake)
But sadly, he had everything….and never enjoyed it.
I am emphasizing this, because there are a lot of Christians the same way.
We have an inheritance…..yes, it will be complete in heaven….but, we have the earnest of that inheritance, now….in the Person of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
We have “all spiritual blessings” in Christ, waiting for us to get them down here in our practical life. (Ephesians 1:3)
We have the fruit of the Spirit to enjoy….and the ability to fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Do we really know this? What are we doing about it?
Or are we like the elder brother, who never really knew his Father….so did not know the enjoyment of the life he (or we) have been given.
(The Prodigal, though a mess and a failure….losing so much of his life on riotous living in the world….yet he, at least, knew his Father, and knew he would be given a place (even as a servant)…..if he returned to Him. When he did, the Father ran out to meet him, for he had been “dead” to all the life he should have had, till he returned. [Luke 15:32])
But the Father also “came out and entreated” the elder brother. When the elder brother found out the younger was home, and the Father had killed the fatted calf for him (something that was reserved for honored guests and special occasions)….
He was angry…
Luke 15:28-30 “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his Father out, and entreated him.
And he answering said to his Father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”
Now you might think, having heard this….that he had good reason to be angry.
No, he did not. He could have had a party with his friends, anytime he wanted….with a kid, or the fatted calf, if he wanted.
But sadly, he did not know this. He thought he was a servant….not a son. He thought his inheritance rested in his merit….how hard he worked, and obedient he had been.
“I never transgressed Thy commandments….even though I grudgingly did them for merit”.
Is this obedience…..maybe to the letter….not to the heart of them.
For the heart of any commandment, or direction from the Lord is to guide you into greater enjoyment of the life of God, in you.
I deserve better than You have given me…..what?! He did not even know what the Father had given him.
I deserve better than You have given the prodigal….But you had it all the time…to have and use, anytime!
No, his inheritance (and ours) rests in the fact that we are sons of God, not in our merits.
The Father had come out, and “entreated” him. He earnestly beseeched, implored, begged him to come on in, and party with them.
How this shows the desire of the Father’s heart for His sons….to have them fellowshipping with Him.
Luke 15:31 “And He said unto His son, Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine.”
All that Christ obtained for us, in His death and resurrection, are laid up for us…..not just for the by-and-by….but for now, to own and use.
It is in Christ….but we are in Christ. (“In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance…” Ephesians 1:11)
Ephesians 1:3, 7-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.
Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: “
1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:….”
We have our inheritance now….what will we do with it?