Prodigal or older brother
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Are you the prodigal or the legalistic older brother?
How about the older brother? What was in the heart of the older brother? Why did the father never throw a celebration for his older son?
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother (the prodigal) has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ Luke 15:25-30
The older brother was angry because he had followed all the rituals and rules of religion yet he was never welcomed with a celebration from his father like the one the prodigal received. What the older brother did not understand is that following rituals is not following God. The older brother wanted to be in control. He had rituals but did not worship God. He prayed as a ritual rather than as a broken vessel under the control of the Master Craftsmen. He wanted ritual, religion and rules and never received the grace of God. He also never learned forgiveness, which is why he resented the prodigal and lashed out at their Father.
Forgiveness releases the bitterness of jealousy and anger. The older brother followed all the rituals of the religious laws but had never personally experienced the Father’s true love, forgiveness and repentance. When the older brother was squeezed, out came anger and jealousy. When you have experienced God’s love through the remission and total forgiveness of all your sin past, present and future by the blood of Jesus Christ, you are able to love and forgive others.
The father had not celebrated in his older son’s forgiveness and remission of sin, because there was no transformation of HIS HEART. The older brother did not know that ALL his sin was forgiven so there was nothing to celebrate. The older brother was filled with the sin of religion and doctrine not the Presence of the living God.
The father celebrated the prodigal because he received the FATHER’s love and entered into the joy of the Father’s PRESENCE NOW.
Are you the Prodigal or the legalistic older brother?
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