The Other Brother
The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said,…“Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
So they began to celebrate.
Luke 15: 21a, 23-24
Judith Viorst wrote a poem called, The Good Daughter. It describes a daughter who follows rules and does her chores. On the other hand, her pesky brother rarely does and usually involves himself in some kind of shenanigan. In the end the sister declares that she really believes her parents always liked her brother better.
This poem reminds me of the prodigal son story. We have the brother who decides to leave home with his inheritance to seek his fame and fortune. We have the other brother who stays home and works hard around the ranch.
When the prodigal realizes his mistake, he returns home to a father who not only welcomes him with open arms, but also throws a big party for him. As the more dependable other brother finds out about the party, he just cannot believe it. His resentment soars. Where is his party?
I have sympathized with both the “good daughter” and the “other brother.” I too worked hard around our home while my brother seemed to shirk responsibility. I too believed him better liked than myself.
Then I realized the other brother represented the Pharisees to whom Jesus told the story. The Pharisees thought they followed the law to beyond its intent earning them a much higher place in the kingdom of God. Their pride, pompousness, and arrogance created more sins than their supposed good works could cover. Trying to be good for our own gain only leads to frustration.
When we confess our sin and run to the Father, He accepts us with open arms. He treats us like family. He actually celebrates.
What a celebration! What joy! The prodigal gets it. Sadly, the Pharisee does not.