Vol. 19, No. 41 – October 25, 2020
C. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, vs. 11-32, (continued).
3) The resentful brother and insightful father, vs. 25-32.
Luke 15:28, “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.”
Principles of Sinful Anger, (continued).
As an irrational sin of emotion, mental attitude anger expresses antagonism, hatred, resentment. It often expresses itself in slander and even violence and murder. Anger violates the following principles of the Royal Family Honor Code.
1) Two wrongs do not make a right. Anger plus another sin is not right.
2) You cannot build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness. This is exactly what retaliation tries to do. You will never become happy by getting revenge.
3) To punish someone else by revenge modus operandi, such as verbal sins or violence, is synonymous with obstruction of Divine punishment and blasphemy toward Divine justice.
4) Anger coupled with arrogance opens the gate to all of the manifestations of arrogance and sin.
Therefore, when maltreated, never let reaction to maltreatment become sin in your soul, because if you become angry and retaliate, then your reaction becomes sin. As such, you will violate the Royal Family Honor Code.
Believers with arrogant subjectivity look down at others and hide their anger until one day they explode. This is a flawed character. This is a hidden anger that results in an outburst of anger. As such, never let reaction become sin. Instead, in the face of unfair treatment, maintain your righteousness by saying no to the temptation of anger and apply God’s Word to the situation, turning it over to God.
Prov 14:29, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”
Prov 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Prov 15:18, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
Prov 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”
Prov 19:11, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.”
Prov 22:24, “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man.”
Pro 29:8, “Scorners set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger.”
Enter the wise man. Next, we see the father taking action once again to rescue a sinner, this time to address the elder son’s sin, “and his father came out and began pleading with him.
Once again, we see that the “father,” PATER, takes the initiative to pursue a wayward son, by “coming outside,” EXERCHOMAI. This time it was the elder brother who chose to remain “outside” of the fellowship. Therefore, we see that God our Father comes to us too when we are outside of fellowship with Him living in our sins. In addition, we see that we can choose to accept our heavenly Father’s entreating to remain or get back into fellowship with Him, or we can choose to remain outside, remain out of fellowship with Him, by refusing to repent / confess our sins and be restored to fellowship with Him. We should always choose to repent!
Here, the father “began pleading with him,” the Ingressive Imperfect, Active, Indicative of the Verb PARAKALEO that means, “call for, exhort, or encourage.” Included in the usage here, it has the idea of consoling and comforting. We have noted this word in Luke’s gospel in Luke 3:18; 7:4; 8:31-32, 41, and we will see it in 16:25. Therefore, he was imploring him to come in, while at the same time reassuring him, as we will see below. By analogy, God our Father pleads with us to return to fellowship through His Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others to teach us, reprove us, rebuke us, and encourage us.
Therefore, when the prodigal son came home the father went out to greet him. Now, the father went out a second time to bring in the elder brother. Yet, due to his jealousy and anger, the elder brother refused to come in because he disapproved of the father’s treatment of the younger son. One of the great contrasts in this parable is between the attitudes of the older brother and the father. When the father came to the younger brother, there was harmony and restoration. When the father comes to the older brother, there is self-pity and rejection of reconciliation. This is the great tragedy of the older brother who represents the Pharisees and any other self-righteous legalistic believer. All the older brother can see is his own righteousness. He is missing out on the repentance of others, including the need for his own repentance. That is what arrogance and anger do to a person. Leon Morris writes, “The proud and self-righteous always feel that they are not treated as well as they deserve,” (Luke, 267). Therefore, we see that even with all of the older brother’s good works, they were not accompanied by a loving attitude. That is the great tragedy of religiosity.
In addition, as the older brother is analogous for the Pharisees and Scribes, they too rejected the Father’s invitation to enter the kingdom of God when it was offered to them. They thought because of their good works and adherence to the Law, that they were participating in the Kingdom. Yet, because of their arrogance and refusal to accept the repentance necessary for salvation, they refused to accept the Father’s invitation.
Luke 15:29, “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends’.”
Here, we have “Operation Self-Pity Party.” The elder son is about to launch into a rant of self-justification for why he is angry and refusing to be reconciled. “Rather than allowing his heart to be softened by his father’s entreaties, the older brother snapped back an answer loaded with bitterness. The self-righteous, jealous, angry, hurt feelings of the elder brother tumbled out in a torrent against the father. The words revealed not just a momentary anger but pent-up feelings that had accumulated for years. His father’s treatment of the prodigal was the last straw. So, his complaint toward the father was a laundry list of everything he had self-righteously done and which had not been rewarded.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
This is also his excuse making for why he is refusing to enter into the celebration for his younger brother. And remember, “excuses are like rear ends, everyone has one and they all stink.” In other words, there is no excuse for any of us to hold grudges against others and refuse to forgive them and be reconciled to them.
The interjection, “Look,” is the Verb EIDON in the Aorist, Active, Imperative. Personally, I do not like when people use this command to get your attention. It comes off as crass and arrogant, as it does here with the elder son. By giving his father a command here, it tells us right off that he does not have respect for his father. This shows us that when we are operating in sinful arrogance, we are not respecting God our Father. And if we ever get into “demanding or commanding” our Father to do something, it is an indication that we are way off in our spiritual life.
After this the son goes on to whine and complain. Just as we have had many “3’s” throughout this parable, there are three aspects to his whining complaint.
1) “For so many years I have been serving you.” This is the self-justification of his human works.
It uses the Demonstrative Pronoun TOSOUTOS that can mean, “so much, so many, so great, etc.” It emphasizes the plural Noun ETOS, “years,” for length of time. Then we have “serving you,” DOULEUO SU, where DOULEUO in the Present, Active, Indicative means, “to be a slave, be subject to, serve, or obey.” He was trying to use his service to his father as justification for his emotional revolt of the soul. Unfortunately, he was doing a right thing but in a wrong way, because his motivation was all wrong. Rather than serving for the sake of serving, or for the sake of his love for God and His Word, or for the sake of his love for his father, he was serving for approbation. He was serving so that he would be paid back. When that is our attitude, God tells us that when men pay us back, we have received our reward in full, Mat 6:1-2, 5, 16.
This also shows his self-pity, as he speaks of his relationship with the father as being less than that of a son, and one as being a “slave or servant.” This reveals he did not know what being a son really meant. He considered service to his father a duty, not a privilege, just as all self-righteous legalistic arrogant believers do in relationship to their spiritual life; it’s a duty, not a privilege.
In addition, by not understanding what it meant to be a son that is loved by his father, he could not then understand how his father truly loved him and his younger brother. As such, he could not understand the joy it gave his father to have his son return to fellowship in repentance. Not understanding the joy it gave his father to have restored fellowship with a son, indicates the callousness of his heart about his own sin and the lack of understanding as to the importance of repentance, thereby remaining in his own sin. These are principles we as believers need to understanding in our relationship with God our Father.
2) “I have never neglected a command of yours.” This is the self-justification of keeping the commandments, e.g., “honoring your father and mother.”
It uses the Greek negative Adverb OUDEPOTE, (not, but, ever), that means, “never,” with the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb PARERCHOMAI that means, “gone by, passed by, elapsed, neglected, etc.,” and the Noun ENTOLE that means, “command, order, decree, etc.,” with the Genitive Personal Pronoun SU meaning, “of yours.” Therefore, he is insisting that not once in his life did he not do what his father wanted him to do, which is highly unlikely. It is like saying “I have never broken one of the commandments,” or “I have never sinned.”
This is another phrase that turns my stomach, “I have never!” In it, we hear the self-righteousness of the speaker and their indignation towards others. This is the process of comparing their spirituality with that of others, as they find fault in others, while in comparison theirs is superior. As stated above, we should never compare our spirituality to that of others to determine where we are in the plan of God, just as we should not compare ourselves against ourselves. We should always compare our spirituality against the Word of God or against the life of Jesus Christ. If you think your spiritual life is superior, just take a look at the life Jesus lived and then ask yourself that same question.
This is the hypocrisy of religiosity, coupled with the arrogance complex of sins that thinks “I am always right,” and therefore, I do not need to repent of my ways, because I am always right and holy. As you know, this is an impossibility, as we are all sinners and “there is none righteous, no not one,” Rom 3:10, cf. Psa 14:3b; 53:3b. Just as the Pharisees saw no fault in their service and worship, this son sees no fault in his. This is the epitome of arrogance and hypocrisy. It is the mode of operation for the self-righteous.
Luke 18:11-12, “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get’.”
Therefore, we see that the older son has two, (the number of division), pieces of self-justification, 1) I have always served you; 2) I have never neglected your commands. “His justification of himself was as proud and arrogant as the younger son’s was humble and contrite,” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary). Next, comes his self-pity complaint.
3) “And yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends.” This is the self-pity of not getting something you think you deserve, as he bitterly accused his father of having never rewarded him properly for his loyal obedience.
“And yet,” which is only KAI in the Greek, goes along with “look,” and “I have never,” to lodge his self-absorbed grievance. “You have never given me,” is the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb DIDOMI, “to give,” with the Negative Adverb OUDEPOTE, “never,” once again, with the Dative Personal Pronoun EGO, “to me.” “Never given me,” is also part of the elder son’s hyper-sensitive exaggeration of the matter. Whether true or not, it shows a long smoldering discontent on the part of the elder brother. I’m sure that at some point in this son’s life, the father threw him a party. But in hyper-sensitivity and self-pity he exaggerates the issue trying to get the father to feel sorry for him, just as he feels sorry for himself. This is another outcome of arrogant anger within our souls.
The thing that the father allegedly never gave to his elder son was, “a young goat,” ERIPHOS, ἔριφος that means, “kid or goat.” Interestingly, this word is only used here and Mat 25:32. In Matthew, it is used for when Jesus “will separate the sheep from the goats,” upon His 2nd Advent. The goats are the unbelievers and unbelieving nations of the world that remain at the end of the Tribulation. Jesus will remove them and their nations for also being antagonistic to Israel throughout their history. The unbelievers will be cast into Hades until the Millennial reign of Jesus is completed. Therefore, I am sure our Lord used this word for its poignant meaning related to Mat 25:32, to drive the point home even further, that the elder son’s behaviors are like that of the unbeliever.
By using goat here, the elder son is also pointing out a difference in the means of celebration from the “fatten calf,” SITEUTOS MOSCHOS in vs. 23, to now a “goat,” ERIPHOS. ERIPHONS is a far less costly animal than a fatted calf, which too is hyper-sensitizing this situation and points to the elder son feeling sorry for himself.
“So that I might celebrate,” uses the Conjunction HINA and the Aorist, Passive, Subjunctive of the Verb EUPHRAINO, which was also used in vs. 23-24, that means, “to make glad, be happy, glad, rejoice, or be merry.” It tells us of the purpose of the action of giving a goat; to celebrate! The principle here is that many blame their lack of joy and happiness on others or their situation, when in fact their lack of happiness is based on their lack of fellowship with God and His Word.
“With my friends,” META EGO PHILOS, “friends or loved ones.” There is nothing stated about who the other people were at the younger son’s celebration, but apparently family and friends were invited too. Here, the elder son is claiming he never was given a party with his family and friends. This continues the exaggeration, which is typical of hyper-sensitivity. Not only do they criticize for the things that people do, but they also criticize people for what they have not done. You cannot win with hyper-sensitive, self-righteous, legalistic, arrogant people; especially when they get angry. Therefore, he was like the Scribes and Pharisees who said in vs. 2, about Jesus, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” He considered that his father was degrading himself in treating the prodigal son the way he did. Therefore, in his self-pity party, he whined and complained about his “hard knocks life,” and chose to remain in his own self-pity party, rather than to repent and join the celebration with God.
“Similarly, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law were angry with the message Jesus was proclaiming. They did not like the idea that people from outside their nation as well as outcasts and sinners in the nation were to be a part of the kingdom. Like the older son who refused to go to the feast, the Pharisees refused to enter the kingdom Jesus offered to the nation.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty).
Luke 15:30, “But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him’.”
Operation “Self-Pity Party” continues with more whining and complaining, now turning to venomous attacks against his father. After the hypersensitive angry person gives their list of “good deeds” they think they have done, which justify their actions that they think should be rewarded, they turn their anger onto others. Here, the elder son launches an attack against his father, which is done in part to blame the father for the younger son’s sinful behavior, while at the same time is self-justification for the elder son’s perceived righteous indignation.
Once again, we have three aspects to this sinful attack:
1) Disassociation with a family member.
2) False accusations – sinful judgment against his brother.
3) False accusations – sinful judgment against his father. In this we also see God our Father’s plan for our salvation.
1) Disassociation with a family member. “But when this son of yours came.”
“This son of yours,” HO HUIOS SU HOUTOS, tells us that the elder son avoided acknowledging his younger brother, the prodigal son, as his own brother. This is a disclaimer the father corrects by saying in vs. 31, “this brother of yours,” which tells us that all believers are one in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, Rom 12:5; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11.
Gal 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
This continues to show the arrogance, bitterness, anger, hatred, etc., that the older brother has for his younger brother. He speaks of him with contempt and disassociates him as his brother.
Also, by associating the younger brother with the father in this manner, he is throwing sharp criticism at the father, accusing him of being a bad father in many ways.
Therefore, the elder son was dishonoring his father, breaking the 5th of the 10 Commandments, Ex 20:12. So, we see him operating in sin once again, where he is blinded to his own sin because of the anger that is within his soul.
Now, referring to the self-righteous legalistic Pharisees, who the older brother represents, we see the amount of disdain they had for the sinners in their own society, as well as the Gentile peoples who they considered sinners and not worthy of God or His salvation. This is the point of the message. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, should love the sinner rather than disparage them for their sinful behavior, especially when they repent. Therefore, it represents the lack of compassion and love we should be having and expressing towards the repentant sinner, as Jesus had done on many occasions when dining with tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes. By doing so, the religious leaders accused Him of being a sinner too, as is also mentioned in vs. 1-2.
The point is; we should remember that we are all one in Christ Jesus and that we all have some form of sin in our lives that needs repentance. Instead of being angry towards the sinner with disdain, judging and accusing them, we should be compassionate with grace towards them, as we express our impersonal and unconditional love to them.
Luke 6:41-42, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
Unfortunately, when there is blind arrogance, like the older brother and Pharisees displayed, they do not see the log in their own eye and go right to taking the speck out of other people’s eyes. Therefore, it is best to not even get involved in speck removing and just live your own spiritual life unto God, searching for the specks in your own life that need to be removed.
As I mentioned previously, unfortunately for the older brother, (and the Pharisees), we never see him coming to repentance as the younger brother had, cf. Mat 21:28-32.
2) False accusations – sinful judgment against his brother. “Who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes.”
Now, because the older brother did not see the log in his own eye, he continues on his tirade of anger towards his repentant younger brother with compound sinning; this time with false accusations.
“Devoured” is the Greek Verb KATESTHIO, κατεσθίω that means, “consume, devour, eat up, or destroy.” Yes, the younger brother did use up all of his money, but this word is used to intensify the analogy by the older brother to elicit a sympathetic response from his father. He is exaggerating the situation of the younger son using up all of the father’s wealth.
“Wealth,” is the Noun BIOS that means, “life, livelihood, or possessions.” Here, it is speaking of the estate that the father had given to the younger son. As we noted in vs. 11, the father divided up the estate, therefore the young brother only had a portion, 1/3 in fact. He did not use up the entire estate. In this rant, the older son once again disparages his father by saying “your” wealth. In fact, the father had legally given 1/3 of his estate to the younger son. When that transaction was complete, the funds were no longer the possession of the father. They were legally the sons. Therefore, this is a false accusation because the wealth that the son squandered was his own, no one else’s.
Next, remember that this parable makes no mention of hiring prostitutes. It only stated that he “squandered his estate with loose living,” (ASOTOS), vs. 13. Yes, it was some form(s) of immoral sinning, but we do not know of any “prostitutes,” PORNE. How did the older brother know what sins he committed? Was he there, did someone tell him? Even if this was something the younger brother did in the past, it does not mean he did it here.
Maybe he was thinking in terms of Scripture, Prov 29:3, “A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.” Yet, even Satan was able to think in terms of Scripture, but falsely, trying to twist them to meet his own needs and goals, cf. Luke 4:10-11. This is another warning sign for the self-righteous. We are not to “use” God’s Word to gain some advantage over others by misapplying it, twisting it, or by taking it out of context. We do not use Scripture to puff ourselves up while beating others down.
Therefore, these are false accusations that the older brother is making up in exaggeration to intensify the issue of his brother’s sin with his father. As noted above, he is exasperated to the point of dishonoring everyone.
Interestingly, he was all too willing to confess the sins of another, while refusing to acknowledge his own. We see in Scripture that the Pharisees were experts at confessing the sins of others, e.g., vs. 1-2, while refusing to admit their own, cf. Luke 18:11.
Luke 18:11, “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.”
Yet, the Word of God tells us to forgive others of their sins and confess our own as well, Mat 6:12, 14; Mark 11:25; 1 John 1:9.
Mark 11:25, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.”
In conclusion, “who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes,” is a false accusation similar to the ones railed at Jesus by the Pharisees for associating with sinners. But that is why He came, to forgive the sins of the sinner so that they can be healed / freed from their sins and be reconciled, restored to fellowship, with God the Father.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-111 & 20-112 & 20-113
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!