If you recall, when Yeshua (Jesus) ended his famous parable (Luke 15), the older brother was still having a hissy-fit. And the father, who had organized a wonderful homecoming celebration for his younger brother “who was lost and has been found,” was desperately trying to talk him into joining the party. But the older boy was having none of it. He couldn’t understand how his father could have a party for that worthless, no-good brother of his when he had served so faithfully and nobody had ever thrown him a party.
And that’s where Yeshua left us. Wondering if the older son would ever understand and receive his father’s unconditional love. Or if the two brothers would ever reconcile.
Well, after 2000 years, we may be watching the conclusion to this parable unfold before our eyes. And it seems headed for a happy ending. Of course, what happened to the angry older brother in the interim, sad to say, was pretty devastating. In fact, he ended up in the same pitiful homeless situation his younger brother had experienced. I know that because the parable was clearly a prophecy about to be fulfilled. And hindsight tells the tale.
The older brother surely represents the Jews. And Yeshua was revealing how his own brethren would react when Father God began to bring Gentiles (the Prodigal) into the house. They’d go ballistic. Why? Because the Jews, who had been dutifully following God’s commandments, believed righteousness was the reward for their diligence. Seeing un-kosher Gentiles, who didn’t know Moses from Adam, claiming they’d been forgiven and declared righteous through faith in Yeshua pushed them right over the edge.
History records how the older brother’s hardened heart soon drove him from the Father’s estate. And how the brothers’ relationship went from bad to worse. In fact, there was a complete role reversal. The Prodigal (now called “Christian”) began to consider himself the favorite son and persecuted his older brother, driving him further away from knowing his Father’s love.
Centuries passed. Then two miracles occurred.
First, the older brother was allowed to return home from his bitter exile. Secondly, the younger brother came to his senses again and remembered the unconditional love and mercy he had been shown. Yes, suddenly, we saw how poorly we’d been treating our older brother. And we wept bitter tears. And began to love again.
So here we are today. Two brothers, separated for centuries by jealousy and persecution, trying to trust one another again. Still not on the same page, but letting the mutual worship of our Father in Heaven and desire to see Israel restored heal our self-inflicted wounds. The story is almost complete.
In Yeshua’s parable, we know the father wanted to celebrate with both sons. But only the forgiven son had reason to rejoice. That tells me this unconditional love we have been given for our embattled brother is a preparation for him to enter God’s “covenant of peace.”
Which means Abba is about to throw a huge party – this time for the two of us!
“How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1).