Scripture Notes on Luke 15
“But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” -Luke 15:28-31
Why was the older brother so angry?
Was it that his father was kind to his brother? Partly, but it was deeper than that. Was it because he was comparing his life with his brother’s? Partly, but it was deeper than that. Was it because he misjudged the heart of the father? Partly, but it was deeper than that, too.
The brother was angry because at the deepest level, he felt cheated out of the rightful wages of his obedience, and he resented the grace the father showed to someone who hadn’t earned favor at all.
He felt the father owed him.
He throws up a comparison chart with obedience in one column and reward in another and throws it in his father’s face, claiming injustice. “I obeyed you, and you never gave me a thing” is what he seems to say.
But he had the equation all wrong.
Gently, the father takes the balance sheet, rips it in two, throws away the column of obedience and fills up the column of reward.
“Don’t you see, Son?” he is saying. “All that I have is yours. You have been waiting for a reward from my table for all of your work, but the whole pantry was always open to you and yet you never took what was yours. You waited for wages but the gift was already yours to take.”
“Son, you never received it because you didn’t trust my heart. You thought I was harsh and demanding so you spent your life trying to work for approval and favor that you thought you didn’t have, but it was yours all along because you’re my son.”
So it may be with us.
Our Father in heaven has invited us in to His family through the perfect work of Jesus, an invitation that brings with it the full rights of sons and daughters, heirs of the Kingdom.
Yet, for many of us it’s all too easy to spend our lives working for approval that we already have, trying to earn favor that’s already been given.
So, we become harsh and angry, frustrated at God when He blesses others more than us because we feel like He owes us.
But anything we thought we earned ourselves has already been paid for at the cross of Jesus Christ. All that’s left is for us to receive it.
“Son,” “Daughter,” the Father is saying, “all that is mine is yours…”
Will you believe Him?