Lesson Text: Luke 15:11-32
Verse 12: "So he divided to them"...both sons got a portion! What did the elder have to complain about?
Verse 25: "In the field"...With very few exceptions (I only found two), "field" in the NT represents the world. When Jesus is talking about the kingdom, usually "vineyard" is used. It is interesting to note that field is used here, perhaps indicating the elder son's worldly mentality regarding this joyous event.
Verses 25-26: He was so busy working, he didn't know what was going on and had to ask one of the servants. Sometimes we are so busy doing good, legitimate works for the Lord, that we get removed from the reality of sin in other people's lives. (Examples: staying for baptisms, personal work).
Additionally, the Father was diligently looking for the younger son's return. He never gave up hope (Luke 15:4-7). In contrast, the older brother just went on about his work, thus, he missed his brother's return.
- The older son tells his father that he has been a faithful worker (Luke 17:7-10)
- He tells his father he has never transgressed (1 John 1:8-10, Romans 3:23)
- Yet, it says he was angry and refused to go in (Ephesians 4:26)
- The elder brother knew what types of sin his brother had engaged in (he lists them), but instead of happiness because his brother came out of them, he shows contempt; a "holier-than-thou" attitude. As Christians, we must never have this attitude and look down on the sins of others, but rather remember, "but such were some of you." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
- The elder son got caught up in his own righteousness. (Luke 18:9-14, James 1:26)
- When we see a brother (or sister) sinning, what should be our response? (Galatians 6:1-5, 1 John 5:16, James 5:19-20)
- What does the Bible say about "hating" our brethren? (1 John 2:9-11, 1 John 3:14-17, 1 John 4:20-21, Galatians 5:19-26)
Though we are to engage in good works (James 2:14-26), keep ourselves pure (James 1:27), and work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12), what should be uppermost in our minds in this life? (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 19:10)