When… Jesus was Challenged for Being Graceful
In Jesus’ parable the older brother answered his Father’s invitation to come in for a party celebrating his younger brother’s return by saying,
“Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back…” Luke 15:29-30
In this wonderful parable the older son’s words are so telling. Notice how he describes his relationship to his Father. He considers himself a slave, not a son. His relationship with his Father was one of obligation as opposed to love. He felt separated within his own house Consider how he begins his tirade with a disrespectful word, “LISTEN!” You can almost hear the unspoken completion of the sentence, “Listen, Old man…” Then he includes more evidence of his separation when he says, “This son of your…” instead of “my good for nothing brother…” The older son is as far away from the father emotionally and relationally as the young son had been emotionally and geographically.
How does Jesus resolve the story?
The Father of the parable says two things which invite us to consider the miracle of grace. 1) “Son, you are always with me and all that is mine is yours.” Do you want a party? We will throw yours tomorrow! How could you have missed what you had my son? 2) “This brother of yours…” The Father is insistent. You may not think of him or name him brother, but he is. I am the Father of both of you and so you are connected through me.
When... Jesus was accused of being too graceful He told a story that was even more graceful! Will we?
Read Luke 15 again.