Harmony With God Part 2 of 3 -- By: Zane C. Hodges
CTSJ 8:4 (October 2002) p. 29
Harmony With God1
Part 2 of 3
[*Editor's note: Zane Hodges earned his Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary where he then taught in the New Testament Literature and Exegesis department for 27 years. He currently is a pastor at Victor Street Bible Chapel and conducts an extensive writing ministry under Kerugma, Inc. His other publications include The Gospel Under Siege, Absolutely Free!, and Power to Make War. His email address is email@example.com]
The Self-Righteous Older Brother:
Repentance In Luke 15:25-32
As we have seen in part one of this three-part series, Luke 15 is not at all about the repentance of unsaved people. On the contrary, the chapter is about the repentance and restoration of Christians who have wandered away from their Shepherd and His flock (15:4–7), from their place and role in the Christian church (15:8–10), and from fellowship with God their heavenly Father (15:11–24)2 . The final section of Luke 15 furnishes us with a vital and instructive postscript, or addendum, to our Lord’s teaching on Christian repentance.
As the older brother of the prodigal son returns from his work in the field, he hears the sounds of the celebration inside the house. Upon inquiring, he is told their significance: Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf (15:27). The older son is far from pleased with this information about his father’s party for his younger brother. In fact, he was angry and would not go in (15:28). As his subsequent words make plain, he is not really angry with his brother, but with his father for giving him such a lavish welcome.
In short, he does not share the joy that his father feels on this occasion.
CTSJ 8:4 (October 2002) p. 30
The older brother thus represents a type of Christian whose attitude toward a wayward Christian brother is far less charitable than is that of God, his heavenly Father. The successors of the older brother in this parable have been numerous in the history of the church. Let us look at this brother’s attitude more carefully.
The father of the angry brother is gracious enough to come out to talk to him, and his dad p...
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