Scripture Passage: Luke 15:11-32
In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son reconciling with his loving father. However, as the passage continues, we meet his ungrateful brother. Through this epilogue, Jesus reveals that the love of God that melts one sinner’s heart can harden another sinner’s heart.
Our love, service, and joy can help us determine our relationship with the Father: are we more like the prodigal son or the ungrateful brother?
We measure our love for the Father by our relationship with our brother.
1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
Some want to assume the place of a child of God without assuming the responsibility of a brother in Christ. We are called to love our siblings in Christ without any personal hindrance.
We measure our service to the Father by our fellowship with Him.
When we meet the older brother in Luke 15, he is working in the field for his father. Upon finding out about his brother’s return, he angrily reminds his father of his own faithfulness as the elder son. Some people serve their churches as model workers, yet they do not know the Father’s heart. When we serve the Lord, we must do so out of a love for God and not for a reward.
We measure our joy with the Father by sharing the Father’s burden.
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 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’” (Luke 15:31-32).
The older brother was so full of self-righteousness and self-pity, he missed the blessing of his brother’s homecoming. If we are so concerned about our possessions, positions, or privileges that we feel threatened by a brother’s reconciliation, we don’t share our Father’s burden.
Adrian Rogers says, “Other’s blessings are not our demise.”
The Lord rejoices when a sinner comes home. If we share in His burden, we will share in His celebration.
Apply it to your life
Do you identify more with the prodigal son or the ungrateful brother? Your love, service, and joy toward your brother measure how much you love the Father.