Angry at God`s Grace: The Prodigal Son`s Brother Luke 15:11-32

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Angry at God’s Grace: The Prodigal Son’s Brother
Luke 15:11-32
• The Prodigal Son is a story that religious and non-religious
people know. A son forsakes his father, demands his birthright
and abandons his family. Jesus taught this parable for
numerous reasons – to denounce greed and avarice, to
remind us all to honor father and mother, and countless other
reasons. Yet, oftentimes, people forget the latter half of the
story. Of course we all know that the prodigal returns and
everything is resolved. However, we often forget the
application of what happens last – an integral part of the
story is found in the attitude of the prodigal’s brother. There
are three attitudes the brother exhibited: Anger, Apathy (or
lack of compassion), and Envy. Since we are called to have an
attitude that reflects Christ’s, an attitude that is merciful and
celebrates the grace of God on sinful man, it is important for
us to know how to avoid these three attitudes shown by this
man.
Angry at God’s Grace: The Prodigal Son’s Brother
Luke 15:11-32
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Anger
A trait discussed throughout the Bible; typically, in a negative light.
Cain was angry and lost control. Killed his brother Abel (Gen 4)
Esau was angry at Jacob for stealing his birthright (Gen 27); Esau wanted to
kill Jacob.
Saul’s anger that eventually results in the destruction of his family (1Sam 20)
Jesus’ teachings on anger (Mt 5:21-24)
Not always bad though…
The specific phrase “Anger of the Lord” is used 35x in the OT
Righteous indignation came upon the Judges of OT (Jdg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14-6)
Jesus expressed anger in cleansing the Temple (John 2)
In this case, it is bad. The brother is angry for all the wrong reasons.
Because the Father shows the prodigal compassion
Because the prodigal is welcomed home by his father
Because he feels that he has been loyal and deserves the father’s blessings.
Definitely not righteous indignation as seen in Eph 4:26-32; more like jealousy
Angry at God’s Grace: The Prodigal Son’s Brother
Luke 15:11-32
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Lack of Compassion
“He left you! He left us! You have a son who has never left you!
He lacks compassion for his own brother because of his selfishness/lack of mercy
Possibly an overzealous reference to the duty of the parents/townsmen in Deut
21:18-21.
Fathers are commanded to take care of their child’s needs (Mt 7:9-10; Eph 6)
Isn’t the brother exhibiting the same attitudes that he is speaking against?
Isn’t the prodigal his family? He is angry at him for abandoning family members, yet
he wants to do the same.
It is interesting to note Jesus’ remarks when healing the paralytic (Mk 2:1-12)
How much more should we realize that our Father shows us unending compassion
when we do exactly the same thing? We take for granted his compassion (Ps 103:813; Mt 23:37)
How should we react when a sinner confesses their sin? Should it be with hostility
or cold shoulder? Or should we be open to give them whatever they need to
survive and welcome them home? (Luke 15:10 – the joy of the angels; Gal 6:1-2)
Our treatment of struggling brethren will directly correspond to how often they will
be open to sharing their struggles.
Angry at God’s Grace: The Prodigal Son’s Brother
Luke 15:11-32
• Envy (and GREED!)
• The Father divides the inheritance for both sons, but he is still receiving an
income as he is still the head of the household and all business in the
family.
• The Father is still in a place to financially provide for his family, yet the
brother seems to be most interested in the money. This is reminiscent of
Judas’ attitude when Mary Magdalene bathes Jesus in perfume (John 12).
• The oldest son received a double portion (Deut 21:15-17)
• “Wait, he gets his share plus more?! That means he is digging into my
future inheritance!”
• “If I left, father would not treat me the same.” This is a feeble attempt at
covering up his materialistic greed.
• “He got a fattened calf and I didn’t even get a young goat.”
• Jesus teaches that man cannot serve two masters; mammon or God. It is
either/or.
Angry at God’s Grace: The Prodigal Son’s Brother
Luke 15:11-32
• Conclusion
• Remember the Context of the Prodigal Son – Rejoicing over the repentance
of a sinner!
• Rejoicing over a lost sheep, rejoicing over a lost coin, rejoicing over a
resurrected son
• The last statement in the parable is “Son, you are always with me, and all
that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your
brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."
• We cannot exhibit the same attitude as the Prodigal Son’s brother. We must
rejoice at the grace we and our brothers are shown. No one is undeserving
of God’s grace. God desires to save all and show compassion to all. Let us be
willing to receive that compassion and allow our brother to receive it as
well. We all need God’s compassion and everyone obtains it repeatedly in
life. We cannot treat God’s grace as only obtainable to a select few. God’s
grace is able to cleanse all (1John 1:9: Eph 2:8)
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