A Tale of Two Siblings – The Elder Brother
Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11b, 25-32 (NRSV)
Last week we looked at the first lost son—the younger son, the prodigal son who ran away from home, but repented and returned—a boomerang child if you will. The first part of the parable had a happy ending—there was reconciliation with dad and a homecoming party.
Today we hear about the second lost son—the elder brother. He too left home in his own way—without ever leaving home. He felt forgotten and unappreciated by his father. In fact, the elder brother often gets forgotten by readers of Scripture who focus on the prodigal, while the older brother is just an afterthought. Problem children always get the most attention. But here’s the thing—the elder brother is a problem child too. Like the father did for his prodigal son, he also went out to his elder son in love and invited him to his own homecoming. The story ends in a cliffhanger—will the lost elder brother also come home like his younger brother did? Will we come home?
Sermon Art: “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt (c. 1661–1669), The Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Google Cultural Institute (public domain)
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February 07, 2021