Making Better Thought-Movies One Truth At A Time

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The Parable of the
Elder Brother


The Parable of the Elder Brother:

Luke 15.25-32

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”


The Parable of the Elder Brother:

  • reveals our thinking when we see someone who has committed "terrible" sins get restored into fellowship with the Father - and gets "decked out and a feast to boot" - when we have been working and "faithful" all along without recognition...



  • The "imagination" is a whole world inside the mind...

Parables are powerful "word-pictures" that are meant to be engrafted into our thinking...as mental pictures do control our thought-life.

That's where the "imagination" gets involved. The imagination allows mental exploration of the past, present, future. It is the ability to see pictures and images in the "movie theater" of the mind. The imagination is the "workshop" of the human mind. It is the only thing in the world we have complete control over. That's why GOD takes great interest of what goes on there, and judges what we allow to grow there - Genesis 6.5

The Parable of the Elder Brother...

  1. Many church leaders have no forgiveness for a prodigal son. They do not want him back in the house.
  2. If the prodigal comes into the house - they won't come in to see him either
  3. The elder brother didn't get the big picture - his father's grief, and his father's relief - he did not understand the Father's heart!
  4. He was too selfish to understand
  5. After all, any inheritance that  the elder brother had sitting at home - he had also received from his father
  6. It is  a mystery as to why the younger son wanted to leave the house in the first place...maybe the Elder Brother had something to do with it

Luke 15.12 "The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons."

They BOTH got their share of the father's inheritance


“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

  • Listen to what he told his father -
  1. I have "slaved" for you
  2. You never killed even a "young goat" foe me to have fun with my friends
  3. You killed a "fatted calf" [greater value] for "this son of yours"
  4. Refused to acknowledge the prodigal as his brother - no, he said - "your son"
  5. He had disowned his own brother, yet he boasted of being a slave
  6. He was never given a feast for "his friends" - maybe another "prodigal" here!
  7. At least the prodigal son was open and did his rebellious ways openly
  8. The elder brother was just as rebellious "in his heart"...
  9. He charges that his brother spent his inheritance on "prostitutes" - we do not know that - the word "riotous living" is what the elder brother also wanted - but was too proud and deceitful for anyone to know what his true self wanted
  10. The elder brother had sins himself -
  • unforgiveness
  • pride
  • self-righteousness
  • lack of love
  • dishonest
  • ungrateful
  • unappreciative for all he had
  • jealous
  • angry
  • threw a temper tantrum
  • refused to be in the presence of his brother
  • obviously, held a grudge
  • how about bitterness?
  • critical of his brother
  • judged his brother

How was he any different from the prodigal son?

  • He did all all at home, not in a far country
  • He had no empathy for his father's grief and happiness

IF the prodigal son's return made the father happy - that should have been enough for the elder brother to join in the celebration. No, he was too self-centered...

No one shut him out of the house - he shut himself out!

What sins are worse?

Outward actions - or inward rebellion?

It's interesting to see Jesus forgive the "prostitute" - but condemned the Pharisees.

Do we have to go back to -

Mark 11.26 "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."

Matthew 6.15 "But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."

There are "prodigals" in a far country, and "prodigals" working the fields at home.

Do we see all the danger signs here?



Return to 75 parables

Making Better Thought-Movies One Truth At A Time

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