The older Son
Notes from the parable of told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Listen to the full message here.
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father..” – Jesus’ words from John 14:9
Jesus revealed to us God’s identity as Father.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Through him we have received a new identity as sons of God.
Not only did Jesus come to reconcile sinful man with a Holy God, he came that we could be in relationship with the father as sons and daughters of the most High God, the creator of all things.
In this parable from Luke 15:11-32, firstly, Jesus teaches about a younger son’s repentance and journey back home, laden with a sin consciousness and expecting a life beneath his sonship identity, the Father instead restores to him his identity, there is a celebration with music and dancing (Listen more here “The Prodigal Son”).
On the other hand, is the older son, who at this point has assumed the state of a servant and is living in his Father’s house beneath his identity. He believes in slaving away and following every rule as a means of earning right standing and relationship with the Father.
He is outraged, he cannot believe that his brother the squanderer is getting all this attention and affection after all his acts of disobedience and disrespect toward the 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.” Luke 15:29
– I have been slaving away following every rule, performing for you Father.. in the hope of obtaining at least your recognition, your love, your favour.. perhaps your acceptance and your approval.
Scripture in Romans 3:23 says, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; and Galatians 3:11, “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Through the strength of his flesh, performance, works, outward appearances, striving, rule abiding, the older son hopes to gain righteousness and a relationship with his Father. This is contrary to these scriptures we just read and is neither way to obtaining salvation or right standing with God. It is not in our own effort that we stand. God’s way is through faith in his son Jesus.
Scripture says in Galatians 5:4, “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.’
If you are trying to find right standing with God through your own performance, then Christ has become of no effect to you, you have become estranged, severed from Christ. Jesus has already done it all and is it yours freely to receive. The only way to the Father is through his son Jesus. (I speak more about this in a message titled – Only Believe via YouTube)
Paul says in Galatians 2:16, “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
With the events of the younger son returning home, the older son has an opportunity right there, the revelation of his Father’s heart and what his Father desires, - a relationship.
However at the point of the younger son’s return, the older son is in the fields, working.
When the older son comes home, he inquires with a servant about what’s going on in his own Father’s home. There are servants in his Father’s house who know more than him while he is out there behaving like a slave. What did Jesus say in John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Not only do we have right standing before God by Faith in Jesus. He came to reveal to us the Father. Through Jesus’ ministry as documented in the gospels we learn so much about the Father, his kingdom and his righteousness. In his prayer for all believers in John 25-26, Jesus says, “O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”