The reason the son now repents is because he sees the goodness and the love of a father. Here is a father who loves him even after he’s totally dishonored him. He arrives with just the rags on his back, so-to-speak. And as he does, his father calls for the best robe he has in his house. The robe was a sign of honor and respect. The ring was a symbol of authority as a son. And shoes meant that he had the wealth of the house at his disposal. He certainly was not going to be a servant in this house.
And, as to the fattened calf, this animal would be plenty to feed the entire village. So, likely, everyone was invited to this banquet.
It is total and pure grace that moves the heart of the Father to lead this son back into the house and to a feast meant for a king.
Folks, there are lots of people who stubbornly refuse the love and provision of God. There are lots of people who insist on their own way. There are lots of people who see God like this younger son saw him. They abuse Him. They dishonor Him. They dismiss God as though they don’t need Him.
Yet, all the while the God of Heaven and Earth is aching for that person to repent, to come to himself, to come to Him in true repentance and faith. Folks, God cares.
And for the Scribes and Pharisees, this was a God they just don’t know. You see, God is a God for sinners and for sinners who repent. The Scripture teaches us that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.
Yes, a difficult life and a life with reproofs will get you moving in the right direction. But it’s your sin, as you know, that separates you from God. And once you see God’s love for you in spite of your sin, then you truly repent and come to Him. You see, now you see that you need Him and not just His money “so-to-speak.”
First, the younger son.
Second, the father.
Third, the older brother.
Luke 15:25 “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. (26) And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. (27) And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. (28) And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. (29) And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: (30) But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. (31) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. (32) It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
Now, the one who would normally be responsible for the guests at a banquet would be the older son; the firstborn. Every guest would be made to feel special when the elder son comes over to serve him. Yet, this son refuses to serve his brother. Instead, he criticizes his father for treating his younger brother with such kindness.
And now, more love from the father; this time to the elder brother. Here the father goes outside to plead with his son to join the party. This son is angry and the father knows it. Yet, the father wants his older son to see things as he sees them.
And, by the way, this act on the part of the older brother is also an act of dishonor towards his father. In essence, his father would have to come out to him to personally get him to come in to the banquet. This might work today in our Western culture. But it sure wouldn’t have been a natural thing in the Middle East.
So, again, the Pharisees get to see a side of God they didn’t know about.
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