Ibrahim Sa’id said…

Even if he (older son) has never disobeyed his father’s commandments, yet he has with this action broken the commandment of love.

Luke 15: 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  29 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.  30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

The older son is a model of obedience.  I do not know of many children who are able to say that they have never disobeyed any of the orders of their father (15:29).  Unfortunately, it becomes clear that this son understood nothing about love.  He is angry because his father is good (15:28).  It becomes clear that he had no relationship with his father or his brother.  He worked like a “slave” for his father.  This word shows how he misunderstood his relationship with his father.  He did not see himself as a son, but a slave.  His work was slavery, not love.  His brother is not his brother, but “this son of yours” (15:30)

The religious leaders thought that their religious duties would satisfy God.  Religious duties, however, can never take the place of love, because love is born from the wonderful experience that God adopted us as his children by grace.  The older son is far from his father and brother because he does not understand the gracious love of his father’s heart.  This is his lostness.

Lord, teach us to love as you love, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.