Column: The Prodigal Son Part Three

The third and final entry to retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton’s “Prodigal Son” series

“Think on These Things” is a column written by retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton

Final of the trilogy: “The other Prodigal”

Thus far in the parable, Luke 15, there is no discordant note to jar the joy; but Christ introduces another element. When the older brother came home from the field he heard music and dancing. Calling a servant he asked what was happening? “Your brother came home; and your father hath killed the fatted calf.”

He had not shared his father’s anxiety for his wayward brother and was angry at the joy his father showed. The rejoicing kindles no gladness in his heart. The favor shown the prodigal he regards as an insult to himself.

The older son thinks he has been wronged, after all, had he not slaved while his brother was partying? He does not acknowledge his brother but coldly says “your son.”

Yet the father deals tenderly with him. “Son,” he says, “you are ever with me, and all that I have is thine. All these years of your brother’s wasted life, you been with me.”

READ MORE: Column: Parable of the Prodigal Son shows Father’s love

Everything that could minister to the happiness of his children was freely theirs. “All that I have is yours.” You have only to believe my love, and accept the gift that is freely offered.

One son had left home and gone deeply into sin, not discerning the father’s love. But now he has returned, and joy results. “This your brother was dead, and is alive again; was lost, and is found.”

Did the elder brother see his own mean, ungrateful spirit?

Did he come to see that though his brother had done wickedly, he was his brother still?

Did the elder brother repent of his jealousy and hardheartedness?

Concerning this, Christ was silent, for the parable is still being lived. It rested with His hearers to determine what the outcome should be.

The elder son represents the self-righteous who look with contempt upon those who they regard as sinners. Because they have not gone to great excesses in vice, they are self-righteous. Like the older son in the parable, they had enjoyed special privileges from God. They were working, not from love, but from hope of reward.

They saw Christ inviting publicans and sinners to receive freely the gift of His grace – the gift which the rabbis hoped to secure only by toil and penance – and they were offended. The prodigal’s return, which filled the Father’s heart with joy, stirred them to jealousy.

Heaven’s tender appeal to the Pharisees. “All that I have is thine” – not as wages, but as a gift. Like the prodigal, you can receive it only as the unmerited grace of the Father’s love.

READ MORE: Column: The Prodigal Son Part Two

When you see yourselves as sinners saved only by the love of your heavenly Father, not by any works, you will have tender pity for others who are suffering in sin. You will no longer meet misery and repentance with jealousy and censure.

Though the Pharisee will not welcome the prodigal, the restored one will have his place by the Father’s side and in the Father’s work.

He that is forgiven much, the same loves much. But the Pharisee will be in the darkness without. For “he that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:8.

Adapted from Christ Object Lessons


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Creston’s Fields Forward collecting data for potential food processing plant

An Oct. 1 survey will collect input from regional farmers and food processors

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

MP Morrison faults federal Throne Speech as new Parliament session begins

Kootenay-Columbia representative criticizes a lack of focus on jobs, support for resource sector

Boil water advisory issued for Lower Kootenay Band

Bacteria was discovered in the Band’s water system yesterday

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read