“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
Comment: Remember that transport was by foot, or on a horse. There were no phones or easy contact at a distance. Presumably the animals which the older son was watching or the work he was doing was at a considerable, maybe several days distance. I have little doubt that the father sent a servant to notify him of his brother’s return. From his reaction as seen here I have little doubt that there was deep seated anger and resentment at what his brother had done.
At any rate he heads homeward and nearing the place he hears the sounds of rejoicing. His old feelings surface with renewed jealousy and boiling over anger. He stopped outside and wouldn’t join the party. Maybe you have some sympathy with him. Dad comes out and cops his son’s fury. ‘I’ve slaved away for you and never had such a feast; that wastrel even used prostitutes and wasted all you gave him; I’m angry’. Can’t you picture it? ‘Son, you’re mine; all I have is yours! Can’t you rejoice with us – he’s back, your brother, my son, is back. Please come in and rejoice with us.’
We’re not told what he did, and I wonder if that isn’t because you or I, if we haven’t trodden the prodigal’s path, need to consider how we will respond to the repentant, forgiven one who returns to our Father.
Prayer: I’m glad that you forgave me Father. Help me to seek the lost and to rejoice with all of heaven when people return to you.