Frank C. Laubach (1884-1970) said…
Beside Jesus, the whole lot of us are so contemptible... But God is like Jesus, and like Jesus, He will not give up until we, too, are like Jesus.
Luke 15: 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 31 ”‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
The story of the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son emphasises that the older brother is just as lost as his younger brother is. It is possible to be in the house of the father, but to be far from the heart of the father. The older brother is symbolic of the attitude of resistance of the religious leaders against the grace of God during the lifetime of Jesus. He cannot share in the joy of his father, because his heart is filled with his own righteousness. He was a good son. The fattened calf should have been killed for him, not for this useless son who returned when it suited him.
But in the same way that the father left his house to embrace the returning son, he also goes out to the older son with outstretched arms and asks the son to share in his joy. In essence, he is asking only one thing: be like me. Share my joy about what has been lost and is no found. Will the older brother go in and share in his father’s joy? Only if his heart becomes like his father’s heart.
Lord, change my heart to be like yours, in Jesus’ name. Amen.